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Full text of "Travels and adventures in the province of Assam, during a residence of fourteen years"

TRAVELS AND ADVENTURES 



IN THE 



PKOVINCE OF ASSAM, 



DURING A KESIDENCE OF FOURTEEN YEARS. 



BY 

CAPTAIN JOHN BUTLEK, 

55th regt. bengal native infantry; 
principal assist. aoent to the governob-gen. n. e. frontier of assam, 

AND AUTHOR OF " A SKETCH OF ASSAM." 



LONDON: 
SMITH, ELDER AND CO., 66, CORNHILL. - 

BOMBAY: SMITH, TAYLOK AND CO. ' 
1864. 



0)3 



Loudon : 
Printed by Stewakt & Mukray, 
Old Bailey. 



PEEFAO E. 



The present volume^ which is a continuation of 
the author's former work "A Sketch of Assam/' 
is intended to describe the habits^ customs and 
manners of the remaining- wild tribes of the hills^ 
viz.^ Ang-ahmee Nag^ahs^ Kookies^ Meekirs^ and 
Reng-ma Nag-ahs^ with whom a leng-thened resi- 
dence rendered him intimately acquainted. 

The adventures and travels will also illustrate 
the life of an officer in the civil employ in 
Assam. The work concludes with a statistical 
account of the amount and mode of realizing* the 
revenue^ and the physical and moral condition of 
the people of the district of Now-Gong\ As the 
Indian Government has been pleased to allow the 
author to derive his information from official 
correspondence^ its authenticity may be relied on, 
and he entertains a hope that his labours will 
not be deemed unhit cresting* or valueless. 



1854. 



LIST OF PLATES. 



Round Stone Pillars at Dheemahpoor . . to face Title. 

Map of N^ow-Gong „ page 1 

The Fort at Dheemahpoor 24 

Squared Stone Pillars at Dheemahpoor .... 25 

Kookie Warrior ........ 79 

Bor Koon, Angahmee jN'agah Hills 143 

Village of Mozomah, from Jotshemah . . . . 181 
View looking up the Mozomah Valley from Sachemah 

Angahmee Nagah Hills 193 

Plan of Hill Fort, Konomah, Angahmee Nagah Hills . 199 

Seehsagar Tank, Temples, and Collector's Bungalow . . 251 



CONTENTS. 



PART I. 

THE EXPEDITION IN THE HIGHLANDS OF ASSAM. 



CHAPTER 1. 

Introduction — Passage up the Burrompooter — Duties of a Civil 
officer in Assam— A night in the jungle — A novel raft — Dan- 
gerous situation— A pleasant surprise — Removal to Now-Gong — 
Preparation for an expedition into the Angahmee Nagah country 

page 1 

CHAPTER II. 

Starting of the expedition— An extraordinary shot — Difficulty of 
progression — A visit to Tooleeram Senaputtee — Description of his 
territory— His life and adventures — Internal feuds— The Jum- 
moonah rapids — The ruined city of Dheemahpoor page 14 



CHAPTER III. 

Establishment of a station on the Deeboo river — A day in the water — 
Visit to the Chief of Rojapo-mah — Martial exercises of the Nagahs 
— The cook is taken ill — A bivouac in the jungle— Arrival at 
Mozomah — Hospitality of the Nagahs — A diplomatic conference — 
Visit to the village— Description of the houses and their internal 
economy ........ page 27 



viii 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IV. 

The policy of making roads through the Angahmee Nagah country 
discussed— Different routes now practicable— Return journey- 
Death of the cook ....... page 44 

CHAPTER V. 

Preparations for the expedition to Northern Cachar — Severe cold — 
The village of Beereh-mah— Mode of life among the Nagahs — The 
advantages of teetotalism in the jungle — The village of Semkur 
—Flight of the inhabitants — Hosang-Hajoo — A visit to the chief 
— Return to Now- Gong — Results of the expedition . page 53 



PAET II. 

THE HILL-TRIBES OF ASSAM. 

CHAPTER VI. 

The Kookies — Population — Government — Marriage rites — Crimi- 
nal code — Funerals — Religion — Hunting and war — Customs — 
Occupation — Productions — Character — Dress— Revenue —Villages 

page 79 

CHAPTER VII. 

Expeditions against the Angahmee Nagahs — First expedition from 
Muneepoor — Second ditto — First expedition from Now- Gong — 
Second, third, fourth, and fifth expeditions from Now- Gong page 102 

CHAPTER VIII. 

The Rengmah Nagahs — Revenue settlement — Manners and customs 
— Meekirs— Mode of assessment— Revenue settlements — Religion 
and cubtoms of the Meekirs page 121 



CONTENTS. ix 

CHAPTER IX. 

The Angahmee Nagahs — Number of villages and population — 
Manners and customs — Mode of warfare — Religion — Funerals — 
Oaths — Omens— Mode of tillage page 140 



CHAPTER X. 

Departure from Now- Gong to visit the eastern part of the district — 
Wild elephants — A night at the Tillage of Lonkhoa Ghat — A fire 
in the jungle— An unexpected addition to the party— Return to 
Now- Gong — Another visit to the Hills, and disturbances with the 



Nagahs page 159 

CHAPTER XL 

The Angahmee Nagah rebellion— Eighth and ninth military ex- 
peditions in 1849 and 1850 page 173 

CHAPTER XII. 
The tenth military expedition— Final result . . page 192 



PART III. 

THE DISTRICT OF NOW-GONG. 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Field-sports in Assam — Specimens of Assamese music— Assamese 
customs, &c. . page 215 



CHAPTER XIV. 
The district of Now- Gong 



page 230 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XV. 
The future prospects of the Now- Gong district . . page 243 



APPENDIX. 

A. — Abstract of treaty made with Tooleram S^naputtee, 3x4 Novem- 

ber, 1834. 

B. — The revenue of Now- Gong for 1852. 

C. — Net revenue derived from house, hoe, and fishery tax, after 

deducting expense of collection, 

D. — Table of land cultivated, and gross revenue derivable, 1851-52. 

E. — Net revenue of mehal for 1852-53. 

F. — Business of collector's office. 

G. — Receipts and disbursements in Now- Gong for 1852. 

H. — General statement of the number of Mongahs, villages, houses, 

castes, population, and revenue of Now- Gong, 1852, 

I. — Statistics of Assam, 1853. 



PAET I. 



AN EXPEDITION IN THE HIGHLANDS OF 
ASSAM. 



TRAVELS AND ADVENTURES IN ASSAM. 



PAET 1. 
AN EXPEDITION IN THE HIGHLANDS OF ASSAM. 



CHAPTEE I. 

Introduction — ^Passage up the Burrompooter — Duties of a Civil 
officer in Assam — A night in the jungle — A novel raft — Dan- 
gerous situation — A pleasant surprise — Removal to Now- Gong — 
Preparation for an expedition into the Angahmee Nagah country. 

In the year 1841^ it was my good fortune to be 
appointed to the Civil branch of the service as an 
Assistant to the Ag-ent to the Governor-General^ 
North-East Frontier, Assam ; and after a residence 
of about three years in Lower Assam, in the month 
of February, 1844, I was placed in charge of the 
Hill tribes subject to the Political Agent of Upper 
Assam. Here, again, it fell to my lot to take 
up my residence with my family at the desolate 

B 



^ 2 ' 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



and remote station of Saikwah^ on the banks of 
the Burrompooter. 

A dreary trip of six weeks' tracking* up ag-ainst 
a rapid stream^ with heavy west-country boats, 
broug^ht us to our destination in the month of 
April. On our arrival we were fortunate in meeting- 
with a small bungalow, made of bamboos, g-rass, 
and reed walls ; but it was void of the luxury of a 
door or g-lass window. Having* frequently before 
felt the discomfort of being- without windows, I had 
learned experience, and took the precaution of carry- 
ing- with me, wherever I went, two windows, one 
for a sitting- and one for a bed-room. The rainy 
season being* close at hand, we made ourselves as 
comfortable as circumstances would admit, by 
laying- down bamboo mats to protect us from the 
damp earth floor ; and having* plastered the outside 
reed walls with mud, we vainly imag-ined we were 
securely sheltered for some time to come. But we 
know not what a day may bring- forth. 

In June, the Burrompooter river beg-an to 
undermine the bank on which our house was 
built ; and thoug-h we were one hundred and fifty 
yards distant from the brink or edg-e of the bank, 
the current was so strong* that in a few days it 
rapidly advanced upon us, sweeping- away ten 



UP THE BURROMPOOTER. * 3 

paces of the bank three or four times in the course 
of the day, and as a stupendous mass of earth 
fell with a crash into the bosom of the stream, 
sounding- on our ears like the report of cannon, we 
received a timely warning- to effect our retreat. 
The river at last came within thirty paces of our 
door, and being- doubtful whether the house would 
remain on dry land another nig*ht, we hastily 
decamped with all our bag-g-ag-e to the residence of 
the Commandant of the post further in the rear 
to the south, nearer to the jung-le, and thankful 
were we for the shelter thus afforded us, till we 
prepared a room as a temporary arrang-ement at 
one end of the Kutchery, or court for public busi- 
ness. A week after we left our abode, the site of 
our old house was in the middle of the river ; 
and we had not been many days in our new dwell- 
ing-, when we were ag-ain destined to be summarily 
ousted. The river continued to advance and cut 
aw^ay the bank ; we, therefore, had no alternative 
but to retreat further inland close to a dense 
forest, and erect a small hut or house in the best 
way we could, six paces from Colonel White's 
grave, which was the only cleared high ground 
available for a dwelling. 

It was in the midst of the rainy season (July) ; 

B 2 



4 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



torrents of rain fell daily, and the country being- 
inundated, reeds could with difficulty be procured for 
the walls of our new abode, and we were in the ut- 
most apparent discomfort. We had erected a two- 
sided grass roof, and put the kanats, or sides of 
our tent, round the posts, to answer the purpose of 
walls ; but we w-ere so happy in escaping* to the 
jung'les beyond the reach of the merciless river, 
that we thoug-ht nothing* of discomfort ; on the 
contrary, we dilig*ently employed our time in im- 
proving- our position, and in a few days we felt as 
settled and comfortable as we should have been in 
the best brick house in Assam. 

As past experience had taug-ht us never to repine 
at what cannot be helped, we only enjoyed the 
more the comforts Providence had placed within 
our reach. That a soldier should be exposed and 
suffer privation is a matter of course, and always 
expected ; but when I saw a lady and child put to 
these shifts, without a house, exposed to the wind 
and rain day and nig-ht, in the midst of the rainy 
season, and in what has been truly termed a howl- 
ing*, desolate wilderness, I could not help thinking- 
how many Eng-lish wdves too little know what they 
enjoy at home; and that in order to be g-rateful, 
and to duly appreciate the comforts of life, it is 



DUTIES OF A CIVIL OFFICER. 



5 



necessary to be deprived of them for a time^ when 
we become sensible of the happiness already en- 
joyed^ but hitherto not sufficiently valued. 

The onerous and responsible duties of a Military 
officer in Civil employ in Assam can scarcely be 
imag'ined ; he is expected to do everything*. The 
Principal Assistant of a District is J udg-e^ Mag-is- 
trate^ and Collector. For six months in the year 
he is constantly travelling- about the country, in- 
specting- roads, causing* them to be repaired, open- 
ing- new ones, instituting* local fiscal inquiries from 
villag'e to villag'e, enduring- g-reat fatig-ue, exposed 
to many perils from climate, wild beasts, and 
demi-savag-es in the hills. In one tour well do 
I recollect an incident that befel me after a long- 
day's march, on reaching- my encampment close 
to a Thannah or Police outpost. I had made 
myself comfortable for the nig-ht in a snug- little 
travelling- tent b}- about ten p. M. A violent storm, 
attended with heavy rain, hail, lig-htning-, and 
thunder, came on. It was a dismally cold and 
wet nig-ht, and I was cong-ratulating* myself on my 
g-ood fortune in having* broug-ht a capital tent, 
when, suddenh", a shrill shriek from the riding* 
and bag-g-ag-e elephants made me aware that they 
had become alarmed, and had fled to the jungle. 



6 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



The roar of the elements^ however^ was so great 
that no orders could be g-iven for their capture ; 
for every servant had taken refug-e from the storm 
in the huts in the market or village. At this 
moment a sudden gust of wind blew down my 
tent upon my bed ; I was compelled to crawl out 
and make the best of my way^ through torrents of 
rain, to the Police outpost or Thannah, which was 
close by. 

On entering the building I was astonished to 
see the whole establishment of Ticklahs, or Police- 
men, unconcernedly sitting round a log wood fire 
on the ground. I had scarcely joined this snug 
party, and exchanged my wet clothes for a dry 
sheet to wrap round me, when the building was, 
by a sudden gust of wind, blown to the ground, 
and we all escaped uninjured under the platform 
or changs erected round the room as seats. Luckily 
the roof did not fall flat, or we should have been 
crushed to death. Our peril, however, was very 
gTeat ; we could not extricate ourselves, and there 
was every prospect of the roof catching fire, and 
of our being burnt to death. We succeeded in 
partly smothering the flames by scraping up the 
earth floor with our hands, and throwing it on the 
fire ; still the horror of our position was dreadful ; 



A NOVEL EAFT. 7 

every flash of lightning* showed us too vividly the 
danger we were in^ and the darkness succeeding 
the lightning rendered all efforts to escape unavail- 
ing. In this interval of despair we at last dis- 
covered a small hole in the roof, by which we all 
effected our escape, deeply grateful for our mira- 
culous preservation in not being crushed by the 
falling building, or reduced to cinders by a roaring 
log wood fire. The next morning the elephants 
were found and captured on the other side of the 
Boree Dulung- river, having fled in the hailstorm 
and swum across the river, though their legs were 
bound with heavy chains. 

Shortly after this adventure I was called on to 
return to Central Assam, to assume temporary 
charge of the Tezpore Division, and, as west- 
country boats are seldom met with in Upper 
Assam, I had no alternative but to convey my 
bag^gage down the Burrompooter by some other 
expedient. I accordingly procured two canoes, 
tied them together, and, constructing a tolerable 
sized raft, put the whole of my traps on it, and 
set out without a day's delay. For my own ac- 
commodation the common Khel-nao, or pleasure- 
boat of the country, was all I desired, which being 
about fifty feet long and three and a half feet 



8 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM, 



wide, with a grass roof over a portion forming- a 
sleeping* berth, and only permitting* a reclining* or 
sitting* posture, sufficed for a rapid journey of 200 
miles. 

All went well for the first day, excepting* that I 
parted company with the bag*g*ag*e raft. The next 
nig-ht the boatmen and servants slept on the open 
sand which formed the bed of the river in the rains, 
and the boat being* apparently securely fastened to 
a stake driven in on the edg*e of the river, I retired 
to rest at an early hour. In the middle of the 
nig'ht I was awakened by the bubbling* noise of 
water and the rolling* motion of my boat, and, on 
g-etting* up to see what was the matter, I found I 
was drifting* down the middle of the Burrompooter, 
rapidl}^ passing* prostrate trees and stumps, and 
that I had only one servant asleep in the front part 
of the boat, and he, like myself, knew not how 
to swim. 

In this dilemma there was no time to be lost ; I 
according-ly put on my red woollen nig*htcap and 
pea-coat, seized a paddle, and set to work and rowed 
most heartily, placing the servant in the stern of 
the boat to steer with an oar. In an hour, how- 
ever, the skin peeled off my hands, and, for a while, 
I was obliged to bide my fate with patience, and 



A DANGEROUS SITUATION. 



9 



watch the prog-ress of the boat as she drifted past 
prostrate trees, and whh^led round and round in the 
numerous eddies^ or whirlpools^ which render the 
Burrompooter so dangerous. As our safety^ how- 
ever^ depended on my exertions to reach the shore^ 
in a few minutes I again set to work with my paddle 
or oar^ and^ after the night was nearly gone^ I at 
last had the satisfaction of seeing that I was near 
the high bank of Dikhoo Mookh. Another quarter 
of an hour's struggle enabled me to bring the boat 
under the bank^ but the current was so rapid that 
I could not bring to^ or stop the boat^ and for some 
time I was in imminent danger of being crushed 
to death under the bank^ which frequently fell in 
with an awful report or crash. Nevertheless^ the 
danger of the open river was equally bad , so, as 
a last resource^ I ran the head of the boat on the 
first projecting point of the bank we met with^ and^ 
instantly jumping on shore^ fastened a rope round 
a root of a tree and brought my boat to for 
the night. 

The next morning I fired a gun^ and my servants 
and boatmen^ who were left behind on the sand 
bank, having procured a canoe, joined me througli 
the fog, wondering how I had escaped so perilous 
a night's journey caused by their carelessness in 



10 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



not fastening* my boat seciirel}^ My bag-g-ag^e 
raft was still less fortunate^ for it was wrecked in 
a storm on the sand bank at Beshnauth. Some 
of my bag-g-ag-e was lost, and all that was saved 
was much damag*ed. My little stock of books 
had now been drenched in both the Gang^es and 
Burrompooter, in following- me in my travels 
throug-h India. In these wild, remote lands, where 
books are our greatest friends, for once I felt my 
comforts had been abridg-ed on this occasion, and, 
on first hearing* of the incident, my equanimity 
was somewhat tried ; but, having* reached the end 
of my journey, Tezpore, the discomforts of the 
trip were soon forg*otten. 

After a few months' residence at Tezpore, on 
the north bank of the Burrompooter, it was ag*ain 
my fortune to be removed to the permanent charg'e 
of the Now-Gong* District in Southern Central 
Assam. I received the order in the month of 
August, in the midst of the rainy season ; and the 
centre of the valley, about thirty miles wide, having* 
to be crossed, and being under water, there was 
no way of joining* my new station except by boats, 
and these were not procurable. In this dilemma, 
we, as usual, had recourse to our khel-nao, or 
pleasure-boat, which we roofed in for eig*hteen 



REMOVAL TO NOW-GONG. 



11 



feet^ and thus formed two rooms three and a half 
feet wide by nine feet long-^ and three feet hig-h. 
As I was accompanied by my wife and a child of 
three years old^ there was little room to spare; 
however, as we were not accustomed to make 
mountains of molehills^ we set out^ after two days' 
preparation, and were actually four days^ by a 
circuitous route, in reaching- the station of Now- 
Gong". 

Never shall we forg-et what we endured from 
the heat and musquitos; the thermometer had 
risen to ninety-six degrees, and the famed Kullung- 
river swarmed with musquitos; and, as we were 
not able once to put foot on shore, we were well 
nig'h devoured by the voracious and venomous 
insects. We were literally scarred from head to 
foot with sores ; but out of evil good is produced ; 
we enjoyed only the more the comfort of a mud 
plastered house without doors or windows, and 
conceived we had good reason to be g-rateful that 
the trial of patience had been but of short dura- 
tion, and that a store of contentment was laid in 
likely to endure for some time to come. 

During" a period of twenty-seven years' service 
it has seldom been my lot to enjoy, at one place, an 
undisturbed residence of more than a few months : 



12 



TRA.VELS IN ASSAM. 



some service or other has always kept me, I may 
say, nearly in perpetual motion. The permanent 
charge of a division, however, seemed to present a 
fair chance of becoming- stationary at last. I had 
scarcely assumed charg-e of the division, when the 
vision vanished; orders suddenly came enjoining* 
me to be prepared to conduct a military expedition 
into the Ang-ahmee Nagah country, bordering on the 
territory of Muneepoor and Burmah. The object 
of the expedition was to meet the Angahmee Nagah 
chiefs, and, by a conciliatory intercourse, to prepare 
them to co-operate with me in repressing their 
annual murderous and marauding incursions against 
our more peaceable subjects; to survey and map 
the tract of country in question, and to open a 
regular communication with Muneepoor and Now- 
Gong, through the Angahmee country via Dhee- 
mahpoor, Sumokhoo-Ting, Poplongmaee, and Yang, 
which would facilitate trade, improve the condition 
of the hill tribes, and eventually lead to the aban- 
donment of savage habits, and the peaceable and 
prosperous settlement of this barbarous tribe. 

Although naturally fond of excitement and ad- 
ventureS^ I cannot say I felt much jo}^ in being* 
nominated to conduct such a mission, for I was 
aware there would be great fatigue in marching on 



PREPARATIONS FOR THE EXPEDITION. 13 



foot through a mountainous^ wooded country^ and 
that I should suffer considerable exposure both by 
nig'ht and day^ throug-h the extremes of temperature 
from heat to cold; coupled with some personal 
dang-er, and, worse than all^ with the best intentions 
and the utmost zeal^ I mig-ht still fail to carr}^ out 
the views of Government. However^ as the life of a 
soldier consists in prompt obedience^ I set to work 
cheerfully to make such arrang-ements as the nature 
of my journey required. I immediately made up a 
small tent seven feet by nine ; laid in a supply of 
provisions^ consisting* of rice^ dal^ salt^ &c._, and 
other necessaries for the detachment and coolies^ 
and sent off the whole stock from Golag-haut up the 
river Dhunseeree to Dheemahpoor^ from which post 
I determined on entering- the hills. 

A company of a hundred men of the 2nd Assam 
Light Infantry formed my escort under the com- 
mand of a lieutenant ^ an apothecary to attend the 
sick; as well as an uncovenanted sub-assistant sur- 
veyor^ completed our party. On the 20th November^ 
1845, we marched from Now-Gong-^ and the daily 
incidents that befel us till we returned home w^ill 
now be extracted from the daily journal of the tour. 



14 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



CHAPTER II. 

Starting of the expedition— An extraordinary shot — Difficulty of 
progression — A visit to Tooleeram Senaputtee — Description of his 
territory — His life and adventures — Internal feuds — The Jum- 
moonah rapids — The ruined city of Dheemahpoor. 

20th, 21st, — The two first inarches to Koteea- 
tollee and Dubboka^ about twenty-four miles^ were 
throug"h a level country^ studded with flourishing* 
and populous villages and gardens, and intersected 
by streams and larg-e lakes. We passed throug-h 
immense sheets of fine rice cultivation, and here 
and there small patches of sug^ar-cane. 

22nd. — At half past seven a.m., we left Dubboka 
and crossed the J ummoonah river in small boats to 
the south bank in Tooleeram Senaputtee's territory, 
and at once entered tree jungle, which we traversed 
for some miles. We then passed the two small, 
wretched looking* villag*es of Katkutea and Deohore, 
situated in extensive plains of high reed jung-le, but 
only a few acres of land were broug'ht under culti- 
vation. Althoug-h the distance to Howrah-g'hat, our 



AN EXTRAORDINARY SHOT. 



15 



encampment^ was only ten miles^ we were five 
hours on the road^ as, in many places, we were 
obliged to cut open a footpath through the dense 
hig"h reed jungie to enable us to get along at all. 
On reaching Howrah-ghat we waded through the 
Jummoonah river knee deep, and were snugly 
housed in a few grass huts hastily erected for our 
accommodation in the vicinity of the village on 
the north bank of the Jummoonah. 

In the afternoon, Lieutenant Campbell, seeing 
innumerable tracks of wild animals, deer, elephants, 
buffaloes, and rhinoceroses, mounted his elephant 
for a little sport; he had scarcely left the camp, 
when he suddenly came upon two rhinoceroses, in 
the midst of miry reed jungle twenty feet high. 
With great, dexterity he instantly fired two shots 
at the animal nearest him, and, b}^ a happy accident, 
the ball not only passed through the head of the 
animal aimed at, but lodged in the head of another 
rhinoceros standing close by it , when, to his sur- 
prise, both animals fell dead on the spot. One 
rhinoceros having fallen on the legs of the other, 
Lieutenant Campbell was firmly convinced that his 
first shot missed and the second ball proved fatal to 
both animals ; it seems almost incredible, but there 
is no reason to doubt the fact. 



IG 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



2Srd, — We were five hours to-day in reaching* 
Kachooamaree^ a distance of about ten miles ; our 
path was roug-h^ winding-^ and difficulty throug-h 
thick tree forest and high g-rass or reeds unvaried 
by the signs of cultivation or villages ; and the 
gTound in many places being still very miry^ the 
effluvium from the rotten vegetation was most offen- 
sive. As Tooleeram Senaputtee's residence was only 
a mile and a half from our encampment on the 
banks of the Jummoonah, we proceeded to pay him 
a visit. After wading through a very high reed 
jungle^ we at last came to his dwelling^ a wretched 
grass hut situated on the edge of a tank choked 
wdth rank weeds^ in the middle of an extensive and 
poorly cultivated grass plain. A few straggling 
huts, inhabited by Cacharees and dependants of 
Senaputtee, formed all that could be called a village 3 
a few pigs, fowls, and ducks, were wandering about, 
but there were no signs of comfort around any of 
the huts ; no gardens or enclosures ; all appeared 
poverty-stricken, as well as sickly, in this wilder- 
ness of jungle 

Tooleeram Senaputtee, an infirm old man, was 
clothed in the meanest cotton garb, and looked 
more like a skeleton than a living being. He 
received me with civility, and, as he has experienced 



A VISIT TO TOOLEERAM. 



17 



great vicissitudes in life_, I cannot refrain from 
noticing- them^ to show how principalities are not 
unfrequently formed in India. 

The extent of country intrusted to the rule of 
Tooleeram and his two sons^ Nookoolram and 
Brijnath^ is about 2,160 square miles^ being- nearly 
one-fourth of the district of Now-Gong*, contain- 
ing*, as far as we can learn, forty-four small 
villag-es, of 1,043 grass huts; calculating- five 
persons to each hut, the population may be as- 
sumed at 5,815 souls, — the net revenue from 
whom would be 994 rs. 12 as. Koheedan, the 
father of Tooleeram, was a khidmutgar, butler 
or table servant, of Krisen Chunder, Eajah of 
Cachar. Shortly after his death, in the rei^n 
of his brother Gobind Chunder, Rajah of Cachar, 
Koheedan was appointed to some situation of 
trust in the hills, where he rebelled, and endea- 
voured to form an independent kingdom ; but the 
Eajah of Cachar, the late Gobind Chunder, caused 
him to be inveigled to Dhurrumpoor, and there 
assassinated. At that time Tooleeram was a 
chuprassee in Gobind Chunder's service, and, seeing- 
his life was in danger, he instantly fled to the hills, 
where he defended himself most successfully against 
several attempts made to reduce him. 

c 



18 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Tooleeram took part in the invasion of Cachar 
by the Burmese in 1824, and after the peace, when 
Gobind Chunder was restored to his throne and 
country, Tooleeram still retained possession of the 
mountains^ in spite of every attempt made to expel 
him from his fastnesses. In 1828, Tooleeram, feel- 
ing- himself infirm, intrusted the command of his 
followers to Gobind Ram, his cousin, by whom 
Gobind Chunder's troops were defeated in their 
last attempt on the hills^ but Tooleeram was not 
allowed to reap the fruits of the victory. His 
cousin, Gobind Ram, althoug-h reared from infancy 
by Tooleeram, now ungratefully requited his kind- 
ness ; he took possession of his principality, and 
compelled Tooleeram to take refugee in Jjnteea, 

III July, 1829, Gumbhir Sing g^ave Tooleeram a 
party of Muneepoorees, by whose assistance he was 
enabled to expel his ungrateful cousin, who then fled 
to Dhurrumpoor and entered into alleg-iance with 
Rajah Gobind Chunder. About this time, to termi- 
nate these intestine dissensions, the late Mr. D. 
Scott, agent to the Governor-General, oblig-ed 
Gobind Chunder to make a cession to Tooleeram 
of a certain extent of country, which we agreed to 
keep him in possession of. After Gobind Chunder's 
murder in 1830, Tooleeram went to Cachar, when 



LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF TOOLEERAM. 19 

his cousin Gobind Ram again took possession of his 
country. He was^ however^ quickly reinstated 
without resorting" to arms^ by the interference of 
the Superintendent of Cachar. In June, 1831, he 
was once more attacked by the followers of Gobind 
Earn and the Ranees, and narrowly escaped with 
his life. In Cachar, Tooleeram is held in very low 
estimation, partly because it is supposed he was 
implicated in the murder of Gobind Chunder, and 
partly on account of his low orig^in 3 for people are 
naturally not well pleased at seeing- a chuprassee 
made a rajah. He has never received the title of 
rajah either from the people or our Government. 
Of late years he has pretended to be descended 
from an old line of princes anterior to the late 
chief of Cachar ; but his pretensions rest solely 
on the assertion of himself and his friends, and 
such a claim was not heard of before the year 1830. 
His two sons, Nookoolram and Brijnath, are on 
the most bitter terms of enmity, as the young-er, 
Brijnath, ran away with his elder brother Nookool- 
ram's wife, and the woman has children by the 
young-er, as well as by the elder, brother. Noo- 
koolram was bent on destroying- his brother ; but 
the old man interfered, and this catastrophe is 
probably postponed till the demise of the father. 

c 2 



20 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Tooleeram* receives a monthly pension of fifty 
rupees from the British Government, and pays 
490 rupees tribute instead of the three maunds and 
twenty seers of ivory^ or eight elephants' tusks^ 
formerly g-iven. 

In 1833; Tooleeram, having- executed two per- 
sons supposed to be British subjects^ was tried at 
Gowohattee for murder^ but at that time he was an 
independent chief^ and had undoubtedly the power 
of life and death ; and; as the persons appeared 
to have conspired ag'ainst his life^ and were not 
British subjects^ he was acquitted^ but his authority 
has since been restricted to the fiscal manag^ement 
of his territory and the settlement of petty disputes. 
All heinous offences are tried by the officer in 
charg'e of the zillah of Now-Gong*. Tooleeram does 
not keep up any military or police force^ and his 
power is very limited; his two sons now jointly 
manage the countrj^^ but the time may not be far 
distant; when the British Government may be 
under the necessity of taking it under its own pro- 
tection; and pensioning off the two sons, a policy 
that is in every way to be desired if the welfare of 
the people is consulted. At present it is a serious 
obstacle to the settlement of the Nagah territory; 

* Tooleeram Senaputtee died 12th October, 1850. 



THE JUMMOONAH RAPIDS. 



21 



and the extension of our subjects towards the 
southern frontier.* 

25th» — On leaving- Kachooamaree, we had a 
dreary march of fifteen miles throug-h a dense tree 
jung-le and some plains of hig-h g-rass, and were seven 
hours in reaching- our encampment at the foot of 
the Jummoonah rapids or falls, called Seelbhetah. 
The Coolies came into camp about sunset with our 
bag'g-ag*e and provisions, when the camp became 
a scene of activity, ever}^ one exerting- himself 
heartily to cook his dinner. The scenery here is 
very wild, and the fall of the river over a ledg-e of 
rocks between a narrow gorge of low hills cannot 
be less than sixty or seventy feet, with a noise that 
can be heard at a g-reat distance, and, after its fall, 
as it dashes over innumerable boulders for a dis- 
tance of a hundred and fifty yards, the g-loomy 
scenery around is divested of its monotony, and the 
traveller feels a pleasurable excitement which he 
would not exchang-e for the comforts of the fire-side 
at home. At nig-ht in the dark forest, two or three 
hundred little fires of the troops and Coolies blazing- 
forth on the banks of the foaming- river presented a 
most animated scene. Up to this point, small 
canoes navigate the Jummoonah river, and on our 

* See Appendix A. 



22 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



day's march many little huts were met with on the 
hanks of the river^ occupied by traders waiting" for 
the Meekirs and other hill tribes to bring* down 
their cotton to sell or barter for salt. Above the 
waterfalls^ the river appeared very deep, and the 
current slow, boats arriving* at the foot of the rapids 
are occasionally unloaded and drag*ged through the 
jung*le; and are ag*ain launched upon the river a 
short distance above the waterfalls. 

26tL — On this day^ we were four hours travelling- 
throug*h much the same sort of uninhabited, dense 
tree and g*rass jung*le, till we reached the little vil- 
lage of Mohung* Deehooa, on the north bank of the 
J ummoonah. As the river was only three feet deep, 
we waded through it twice, and most of us being* 
wet, our pace was increased to enjoy the comfort of 
a chang-e of dry clothes. In the afternoon, a few 
Eeng-mah Nag*ahs visited us, and presented a fowl 
and a little rice, for which civility we g*ave them a 
bottle of spirituous liquor, which they prized more 
than money or any other remuneration. 

27th. — Having* risen at our usual hour of four 
A.M., to allow time for the troops and CooHes to cook 
and eat their breakfast before starting*, we set out 
at seven, and reached the Burjoree, a small stream, 
in six hours — distance 15 miles. The whole route 



DIFFICULTY OF PEOGRESSION. 23 



was throug-h a dark^ damp^ chilly^ gloomy forest 
with small undulating' hills^ and neither the sky nor 
sun was seen throug-hout the day. Our road was a 
mere footpath^ and the forest so thick that we 
could not see ten paces before us. On reaching* our 
camping- g-round^ by the aid of the Coolies we cut 
down the jung-le^ and quickly erected^ with the 
branches of trees and leaves^ little sheds or huts for 
ourselves^ Sipahees^ Coolies^ and servants^ and 
having- served out provisions to the whole^ and 
secured the camp ag-ainst any sudden surprise^ we 
retired to rest^ rather disg-usted with our position^ 
but glad it was no worse. 

28fA. — The distance travelled to-day to Dheemah- 
poor was fifteen miles^ which occupied^ as yester- 
day, six hours. We crossed numerous small low 
hills, but the ascents and descents were easy, and the 
footpath tolerably open. The forest was of pre- 
cisely the same character as yesterdays not a 
vestig-e of any habitation or a human being- was seen 
between Mohung- Dehooa and Dheemahpoor, a dis- 
tance of thirty miles. A more dreary and desolate 
wilderness I seldom traversed in any part of Assam. 
It seemed totally devoid of man, beasts, or birds ; 
a death-like stillness everywhere prevailed, broken 
only by the occasional barking or halloo of the ooluck 



24 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



or ape. As our view was confined to a few paces 
before us^ while the earth was excessivel}^ damp — 
the sun not having- pierced the forest^ probably^ for 
half a century — we felt a little depressed^ and all 
hailed with joy the Dhunseeree river^ at this 
season of the year about thirty yards wide_, and 
navigable for small canoes till December^ as far as 
Dheemahpoor. After erecting some small huts in 
the vicinity of the Now-Gong^ police-militia stockade, 
on the banks of the Dhunseeree, we soon made 
ourselves comfortable for the nig-ht. 

During" our stay at this spot we were all much 
interested and struck with the ruins of the old 
city of Dheemahpoor, on the banks of the Dhun- 
seeree river. It is traditionally believed that this 
ancient city was founded in the reig-n of Chukur- 
doz, Bajah of Assam, who died according* to the 
Assamese historians, at Gher-Gong*, in the year 
1663, after a reig-n of seven years. The entrance 
g-ateway of the old fort is still tolerably perfect ; 
it is built of brick and mortar, but is now much 
injured by trees g-rowing- out of the walls. After 
passing" throug-h the gateway into the fort, we met 
with tw^o rows of thirty curious round sandstone 
pillars, carved with representations of the lotus 
flowery then two rows of fifteen square pillars. 



4 




A RUINED CITY. 



26 



roug"hly carved with figures of peacocks^ tig-ers, 
deer, and elephants. Many of the pillars are 
broken and prostrate. The rows of pillars are fifty- 
five feet wide and two hundred and thirty-six feet 
long' ; ten feet between each pillar, and twelve feet 
between each row. Taking* the average height of 
the square pillars at eighteen feet, twelve above 
and six under ground, and five feet square, the 
weight of each of these stones, when quarried, was 
not less than seven hundred and twenty-nine 
maunds, or about twenty tons. The largest round 
pillar is thirteen feet high and six feet six inches 
in diameter ; one of the smallest is ten feet high, 
and three feet nine inches in diameter. Whether 
the pillars ever supported a roof I could not dis- 
cover from any signs or vestige of its having been 
enclosed. 

The pillars are brown, or rather black, from 
exposure to the elements, and they are so soft that 
they can easily be cut with a knife, and break off 
in pieces with the slightest blow; which would 
lead to the inference that they were made on the 
spot from some composition of sand and other in- 
gredients, as it does not seem practicable to convey 
such enormous masses of stone from the Nagah 
hills, which are distant from this, spot thirteen 



26 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



miles. Each pillar is supposed to have been the 
appointed seat of a grandee according* to his rank. 
It is said that every year^ on a fixed day, all the 
nobles assembled in this hall of audience, and a 
human being* was decapitated between two square 
pillars in the centre of the hall before the assem- 
bly^ as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of the 
Deity. On the west side of the Dhunseeree, near 
the fort, there is a large tank completely choked 
with grass jungle, and surrounded by five nohor 
trees. On the eastern bank of the Dhunseeree 
there are four large tanks also surrounded by an 
almost impenetrable jungle, rendering it very dif- 
ficult to approach them. 



ESTABLISHMENT OF A STATION. 27 



CHAPTER III. 

Establishment of a station on the Deeboo river — A day in the water — 
Visit to the Chief of Rojapo-mah — Martial exercises of the Nagahs 
— The cook is taken ill — A bivouac in the jungle — Arrival at 
Mozomah — Hospitality of the Nagahs — A diplomatic conference — 
Visit to the village— Description of the houses and their internal 
economy. 

From the 28th November to the 6th December^ 
we were busily occupied in cutting* open a foot- 
path throug'h a dense forest to the Deeboo river^ 
and clearing' a piece of g-round to encamp on at 
the foot of the Sumokhoo-Ting* range of hills. Three 
hundred Coolies daily carried up supplies of rice^ 
dall; salt, oil, &c._, to our dep6t, near Rojapo-mah, 
on the banks of the Deeboo river, as we intended to 
make this point the base of our operations. This 
being' effected, we marched to the entrance of 
the g*or^e or pass east of Sumokhoo-Ting* on 
the 6th, and encamped in an open plain of 
high jungle in little ^rass huts at two p.m., 
after crossing over to the rig-ht bank of the 
Deeboo river. 



S8 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Qth, — Setting out from our encampment at 
eight A. M.; we wended our way along- the eastern 
bank of the Deeboo river^ over some high precipices 
and many steep acclivities^ for two miles ; but at 
last there was no possibility of climbing over the 
perpendicular ledges of rock in our front ; we were 
obliged; therefore^ to take to the river, and a 
ludicrous scene occurred. It was a bitterly cold 
day, and a slight drizzling rain was falling ) to add 
to our discomfort; the water was two and three 
feet deep; extremely cold, and running with ex- 
treme rapidity over a stony bed. The Sipahees, 
and all of us indeed, immediately relieved our- 
selves of our trowsers; which each threw over his 
shoulders, one leg dangling on each side as far as 
the breast, and with short cotton drawers and 
naked feet we all cheerfully entered the water, 
and crawled along slowly for a mile and a half. 
On each side the banks were very precipitous, and 
many bluff high projections were surmounted with 
the utmost difficulty. The rolling stones in the 
bed of the river were as slippery as glass, and 
some of the boulders were particularly sharp, 
cutting our feet like a knife. Scarcely one of us 
got along without an unhappy fall ; but no mat- 
ter who fell, whether officers, Sipahees, or Coolies, 



A DAY IN THE WATER. 



29 



hearty shouts and laug-hter repeatedly proclaimed 
that another luckless wig'ht had fallen^ and had 
been saved the trouble of a bath. No one heeded 
the suffering's that we were obliged to endure^ for 
all were anxious to quit the bed of the river as 
quickly as possible. We had now been a long- 
time in the water_, and our prog-ress seemed ex- 
ceeding-ly slow^^ and we were becoming* excessively 
cold^ and shook to such a deg-ree that we could 
hardly stand ; but we persevered^ and at last 
quitted the river^ put on our clothes hastily^ and 
trudged over a succession of low hills for three 
miles and five furlong-s^ which brought us to our 
encampment on the west bank of the Deeboo river, 
near Eojapo-mah. Our feet were terribly lace- 
rated and bruised by walking barefooted over the 
rolling- stones ; and few of us, in a long* life pro- 
bably, will easily forg-et the pain and suffering of 
this day's march. 

In the evening", the chief of Rojapo-mah came 
into camp and presented a few cotton cloths as a 
present. In return I gave him a bottle of brandy 
and saw him clear out of camp, with which con- 
descension he was quite delighted j but, being 
still apparently suspicious of his safety, I perceived 
that he kept turning round every minute to see if 



30 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



any one was pursuing* him. A few hours enabled 
us to erect small huts for the Coolies, Sipahees, and 
ourselves, and^ as the rain had set in heavily, we 
passed that evening* over a ^ood log*- wood fire^ 
thoug-h almost suffocated by the smoke. 

1th. — We were in a wretched predicament to-day, 
as we could not leave our leaky frail huts. We 
appeared enveloped in darkness^ even at noonday, 
and a drizzling* rain never ceased. We made hug*e 
fires with wet wood, and were nearly blinded and 
almost suffocated by the smoke ; but the cold 
driving- wind^ and excessive dampness of the 
atmosphere and g-round^ were very trying* ; more 
particularly as many of us were laid up with severe 
colds from walking* in the river Deeboo for so many 
hours on the previous day ; nevertheless^ the whole 
party was in g-ood spirits^ and no gTumbling voices 
were heard. 

8^A. — In the course of the day the sun came out^ 
and several of our party proceeded to pay the chief 
of the villag*e of Rojapo-mah a visit, who resided 
only about a mile and a half distant from camp. 
They were all treated with g*reat civility, and the 
chief invited them into his house, and offered them, 
out of a trough placed in the middle of the house, 
a ladle of fermented liquor as thick as mud, the 



A VISIT TO THE CHIEF. 



31 



smell of which was quite suflBcient to debar them 
from partaking" of the proffered cheer. I was 
much amused by the action and g'esture made by 
the chief on his being* asked by me to allow his 
children to g"o to Now-Gon^ to be taug-ht in our 
schools. He declined the offer, and said that he 
would rather part with his life than his sons, though 
I promised g'ood treatment and plenty of handsome 
cornelian beads, the first consideration with a 
Nagah. The chief got up several times to 
reply to questions put to him through our inter- 
preters, and evinced much fear of our having a 
design of kidnapping his sons ; but, after quitting 
my presence, they presently returned to camp to 
gratify their curiosity and barter something with 
the camp followers, and their suspicions seemed 
considerably abated. 

In the vicinity of Rojapo-mah great numbers of 
tea trees were observed growing luxuriantly in the 
jungle, some twelve or fourteen feet high ; but we 
did not discover that the Nagahs ever drink tea. 
We were unsuccessful in collecting tea seeds ; for, 
although the Nagahs have no use for them, and are 
ignorant of their value, this was not the case with 
the pigs, for the shells were seen in abundance 
under the trees. The afternoon was passed in 



32 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



receiving- visits from the chiefs^ and accepting" their 
presents of elephants' tusks^ spears^ and cotton 
cloths, as tribute^ or mark of alleg*iance to the 
British Government. We were much amused by 
the Nagahs performing- their martial exercises for 
our diversion^ and throwing the spear as if in 
action with an enemy. They are particularly 
dexterous in holding- the spear in the hand^ 
spinning it round with great rapidity^ and then 
suddenly throwing- it with considerable precision 
at an object fifteen or twenty paces distant, 
hallooing-, 3^elling-, and jumping- about with the 
g-reatest ag-ility, as if in the presence of a foe. 

9^A. — Leaving- a g-uard with our provisions in 
camp, near Rojapo-mah, we rose early to adjust 
the loads of the two hundred Coolies who carried 
our bag-g-ag-e and provisions, and, by nine a.m., each 
porter having- received his load of about twenty 
seers, or forty pounds, and arrang-ing- them in a 
long- row in rear of the main body of our force, we 
pursued our course up the stony bed of the Deeboo 
river, for six miles in and out of the water, ankle 
and knee deep, over slippery rolling stones and 
immense boulders, for upwards of five hours. The 
latter part of the route was over some g-entle 
ascents and descents, through thick tree jungle. 



THE COOK TAKEN ILL. 



33 



till we reached the long* hig'h hill on which 
Cheereh-mah was formerly situated. We then de- 
scended into an open rice valley which had just 
been reaped. Here^ by the side of the roaring- 
rivulet, the Deeboo (for it had now become a 
small stream), we encamped for the nig*ht, having 
only prog-ressed nine miles in about seven hours. 
Throug-hout this day's march we were compelled to 
keep to the bed of the river^ for the country was 
so impenetrable from hig-h g-rass and tree jung-le ; 
but, if we had delaj^ed a few days till a path had 
been cut, we should have been saved much suffering* 
in walking" in the water for so many hours with 
bare feet. 

10th, — Just as we were preparing- to set out this 
morning-, my cook was found to be unable to 
accompany us to the next encampment ; he was a 
g-reat opium eater, and, his stock of opium having- 
failed, sickness prostrated his streng"th. We 
g-ave him some medicine, and left a Coolie to 
bring- him along- after us slowly ; but, as soon as 
we had started, he refused to be carried, and was 
accordingly left by the Coolie in the encampment. 
We marched at half past eig-ht a.m., and our route 
to Tokojinah-mah was first over low hills^ and then 
through several narrow valleys beautifully culti- 

D 



34 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



vated with salee^ or winter rice, which was just 
ready to be g-athered in. The ascent to Tokojinah- 
mah was tortuous and precipitous, over hu^e ledges 
of rocks and innumerable stone steps. We wended 
our way up to the summit of the hill with g'reat 
fatig-ue, and entered a wooden gateway on the 
edge of a precipice by climbing* up several steps. 
As soon as we passed through the gate we found, 
on our right hand, a small piece of table land 
about 100 yards square, and on this spot were 
situated twelve Nagah huts. On turning to the 
left we commenced another ascent of 200 yards, 
to gain the summit of the range, on which were 
twenty houses. The chiefs of both villages 
attended on us, and presented cotton cloths, 
spears, fowls, and eggs, as tribute or token of sub- 
mission, and in return for their civility a little salt 
was distributed. After a few minutes' halt we 
proceeded on our way for some distance over 
most difficult ground, abrupt ascents and descents, 
through grass and tree jungle and meeting with 
no streams for some time, we were all greatly dis- 
tressed with thirst. By persevering, however, we 
at last reached the Eengmah river, called by the 
Nagahs, Deeyong% and the joy we all felt at getting 
a drop of water to assuage our burning thirst, can 



A BIVOUAC IN THE JUNGLE. 



35 



only be appreciated by those who have been 
similarly situated. 

It was now past three o'clock p.m ; and^ although 
we had been seven hours on the trudg'e^ still we 
had only come seven miles by the perambulator. 
The Coolies, or porters, with our bagg'ag'e and 
provisions, were a long* distance in the rear^ and 
we were all completely knocked up. To proceed 
further in the attempt to reach Mozo-mah that 
nig'ht was quite out of the question j we, accord- 
ing-ly, bivouacked for the night in the midst of 
bamboo jungle, about two hundred feet above the 
river Eeng-mah on the side of a hill. We cut down 
the bamboos, erected small huts, and made our- 
selves as snug as the rough sloping ground would 
admit; but our camp was confined, damp, and 
gloomy in the extreme; hoar frost covered the 
ground, the wind was high and very cold, and, 
what with hourly patrols to be ready for any 
attack of the Nagahs, we passed a sleepless night. 

llth, — At nine a.m., the thermometer stood as 
low as forty degrees, when we commenced our march 
towards Mozo-mah. After two hours' sharp ascent 
over precipices two thousand feet high, by a path 
eighteen inches wide, we traversed a frightful 
gorge, and began to descend to the low hills, on 

D 2 



36 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



which Mozo-mah and Kono-mah are situated^ and 
encamped on the sloping- side of the hig*h rang-e^ 
opposite Mozo-mah^ in the midst of terraced fields. 
We were truly g-lad that we had met with no 
opposition whilst in the pass^ or many lives must 
have been lost ; for the Nag-ahs could have attacked 
us by rolling- down stones upon us^ whilst making- 
our way throug-h the pass^ with perfect impunity ; 
and^ on this account^ in future^ if open hostilities 
are ever resorted to^ this route should be avoided. 

The views yesterday and to-day^ as we crossed 
over the high range to Mozo-niah^ about 5^250 feet 
above the level of the sea^ were very beautiful. 
We were delighted to see numerous villages east of 
Mozo-mah, and a good deal of rice cultivation. On 
our first arrival in camp, it was pleasing to notice 
with what cheerful agilit}^ the Nagahs ran off with 
their peculiar yelling noise, skipping over the walls 
three and four feet high, to the wooded hills, to 
bring us in a supply of firewood, as well as bam- 
boos, and we were not long in constructing little 
sheds or huts with the rice stubble of the fields. 
Daily did the Nagahs resort to our camp in great 
numbers, without the slightest fear, and bartered 
their pigs, fowls, cotton cloths, and cloths made of 
the bark of the nettle plant, for salt, cornelian beads, 



A DIPLOMATIC CONFERENCE. 37 

&c. Every endeavour was made to induce the 
chiefs of the villag-e of Kono-mah to deliver up the 
persons who were concerned in the surprise and 
destruction of the outpost at Lunkae, in October^ 
1844, and for which a portion of the village of 
Kono-mah had been burnt by Mr. Sub- Assistant 
Wood, in January, 1845, but all in vain. The 
chiefs came into camp frequently^ and represented 
the state of affairs; half of the inhabitants of the 
villag*e, they stated^ had fled to the jungles with 
their property, expecting- that the lex talionis 
would be momentarily enforced ag-ainst them by 
our troops as before. They were perfectly at our 
mercy ; we might reduce the village again to ashes, 
destroy their grain, and bring them to the utmost 
verge of distress, — still they, as chiefs, could not 
deliver up the delinquents. The community did not 
allow them to exercise such a power; nor were 
they acquainted with the names of the criminals^ 
for a small body had gone on the foray from their 
village, and committed the massacre^ and^ conse-- 
quently, it would rest with us to punish the whole 
community for the misbehaviour of the few; they 
(the chiefs) had restored the four muskets carried 
off on this occasion, and while they pretended to 
deplore the customs of their country, in sanctioning 



38 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



and approving" these inroads^ they implored the 
clemency of the Government^ and begged that their 
tribute and submission might be accepted. 

The arguments used by the chiefs being correct 
in regard to their inability to apprehend and de- 
liver up the culprits^ and the village being deserted, 
and three villages having being burnt in the pre- 
vious expedition, without any good resulting from 
it, it appeared perfectly impossible to hunt down 
the Nagahs in these mountain fastnesses , and it 
seemed highly unadvisable to retaliate on them for 
past outrages, by seizing their grain, destroying 
their houses, carrying off their cattle^ and having* 
recourse to other severities necessarily attendant 
on open hostilities, in the present crisis when the 
names even of the culprits were not known. In 
fact, such proceedings would only tend to exas- 
perate and close the door to reconciliation, as well 
as defer to an indefinite period the cessation of 
these barbarous practices j as conciliatory measures 
were also the positive and primary object of the 
mission, we did not feel justified in rejecting the 
submissive demeanour and proffered tribute of this 
treacherous, savage clan, for the prospect of 
waging an unsatisfactory and hopeless war, without 
any hope of ameliorating their future condition. 



VISIT TO MOZO-MAH. 



39 



The chiefs were according"ly again taken into 
favour^ and the assurance that their past misdeeds 
were overlooked^ was received with manifest feel- 
ing's of joy and confidence. 

All the chiefs were summoned to witness the 
taking" of the oaths administered to them according 
to their own most solemn ceremonies. Written 
ag-reements were drawn out by us (for the Nag-ahs 
have no written languag-e), and thoroug-hly ex- 
plained to them, and, to show their assent to the 
proceeding's, they placed a double-barrelled g-un 
between their teeth, after this a sword and a spear, 
and declared that, if they swerved from their oaths, 
they would fall by the one or the other. In their 
ag-reements, they promised not to molest their neig-h- 
bours in future ; to abstain from plundering- excur- 
sions, and cutting" off theheads of any Nagahs or other 
clans ; to refer all disputes to British authorities ; not 
to commence hostilities with any clan without their 
sanction ; and annually to pay tribute as a token of 
allegiance to the British Government, who, in 
return, would redress their grievances, protect 
them from aggressions, and secure their general 
welfare by such measures as would conduce to 
their happiness. 

12th. — I visited the village of Mozo-mah this 



40 



TKAVELS IN ASSAM. 



morning' in company with Mr. Thornton^ who 
continued his survey from the camp and throug*h- 
out the village. On the summit of a hill joining- 
the main high rang-e leading to Poplongmaee and 
Yang-^ we counted 165 houses^ and, as the hill is 
cultivated from the base to its summit in plots or 
walled terraces, it would be a most formidable 
place to assail, as each house is surrounded with a 
stone wall, and a street with stone walls on each 
side, four and five feet high^ extends from one end 
of the hill to where it joins the principal rang-e. 
From the top of the Mozo-mah hill^ we had a fine 
view of many villag-es in the distance, to the north- 
east^ and innumerable cultivated patches on the hills. 
Their cultivation is managed with the hoe, and 
every terrace is irrigated by water being* carried 
along narrow trenches a g-reat distance in every 
direction, so that these narrow-walled terraces, at 
first sight, look like steps ascending- to the villag-es^ 
till a nearer approach shows the cause of the 
labour bestowed in their construction. 

On our way up we saw twenty black and brown 
cows grazing- in the stubble ; they were of a larg-er 
breed than those found in the plains of Assam, and 
were in excellent condition. The Nag-ahs do not 
consume milk, and cattle are not used for tilling- 



DESCRIPTION OF THE VILLAGE. 41 



the ground^ but are kept chiefly for sacrifices and 
feasts. They have many pigs and fowls, and eat 
every kind of flesh. That of the elephant is hig"hly 
esteemed, and a dead elephant is a glorious prize 
for a whole villag-e. It is also said that they are 
not averse to tigers' flesh. We were treated with 
great civility, and invited into their houses, which 
are g-able-ended, and about thirty or forty feet long* 
by twelve or sixteen feet wide. Each house was 
divided off" into one or two rooms ; the pig-s, fowls, 
wife, and children, were all huddled together, with 
the grain in large bamboo baskets five feet high 
and four in diameter, in the same room. In one 
corner was a trough filled with some kind of fer- 
mented liquor made of rice, which was thick and 
white, and most offensive to our olfactory nerves. 
In this trough they dip their wooden cups or 
gourd bottles, and all the morning the Nagahs 
lounge about in the sun in their little court-yards, 
and, seated upon a high stone commanding some 
extensive view, sip this abominable beverage. The 
gable ends of the houses are generally built up 
with planks of wood fastened with cane and bam- 
boos, one above the other. The houses are built 
with no pretence to regularity ; they are uncon- 
nected, have distinct court-yards surrounded with 



42 ^ TEAVELS IN ASSAM. 

stone walls^ and a little bamboo railing*. The eaves 
of the houses are within two feet of the ground, 
to prevent their being* blown away by storms, and 
the walls are made of split bamboo interwoven 
tog*ether. The inside of the houses is exceed- 
ing'ly filthy, and some of the old men and women 
were so dirty in their persons, that I should say 
they had not washed themselves for years, and 
this, perhaps, is not much to be wondered at, for 
this morning* the thermometer at seven A. M. stood 
at thirty-six deg*rees, and the nig-ht was exceeding-ly 
cold. Water left in a pan froze one-eig*hth of an 
inch in thickness, which quite astonished our camp 
followers ; and one g*entleman, who had been born 
in India, exclaimed, that for the first time in his 
life he had seen ice and hoar frost on the g-round 
but he never wished to see it ag-ain. The climate, 
indeed, at this time, was very fine ; a strong", brac- 
ing* dry wind and hoar frosts every night seemed 
more like England than actual residence in the 
East. 

The Nagahs of Mozo-mah manufacture a strong 
thick cloth well adapted for their changeable and cold 
climate ; it is made of the bark of the stalks of the 
nettle plant, and is of a brown colour with black 
and red stripes, or quite plain, and is generally 



DESCRIPTION OF THE VILLAGE. 43 

used by the Nag-ahs as a chudder, or covering- 
thrown over the body. The climate here is not 
favourable to the g'rowth of cotton^ but they pro- 
cure abundance from Sumokhoo-Ting*. 



44 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



CHAPTER IV. 

The policy of making roads through the Angahmee Nagah country 
discussed— Different routes now practicable —Return journey — 
Death of the cook. 

18^/^. — Last night was^ as usual, excessively cold^ 
and few of us enjoyed any sleep. Early in the 
morning- the ground was covered with hoar frosty 
and at eight A. M. the thermometer stood at 
thirty-nine degrees. I was much amused to-day 
at the modest request of the Mozo-mah chief, to 
grant him a guard of twenty sipahees to be sta- 
tioned in his village, when he said he should be 
able to fight all his enemies, and he would first 
commence by taking his revenge on Kono-mah. I 
reminded him that he had only just sworn not 
to go to war with any tribe in future, but par- 
ticularly with the Nagahs of Kono-mah ; all the 
Nagahs were British subjects, and if he waged war 
with any of them I should punish him for so 
doing. If a guard were located in his village, it 



MODES OF COMMUNICATION. 



45 



would be to put a stop to feuds and predatory 
inroads for skulls and property^ and not for his 
ag*g"randizement, or to bring* all the small villages 
under his sway. The crime of murder would in 
future only be settled by the offender being hung* ; 
such was British law. This the chief could not 
at all comprehend^ and he did not want any guard 
if he was not allowed to make war on his enemies. 

As some have advocated the expediency of open- 
ing a communication to promote trade with the 
north-eastern parts of Assam from this pointy par- 
ticularly with the people called Shans on the 
other side of the Palkoe Mountains^ from Northern 
Ava to the Khyendwen river above Munee- 
poor, the question merits attention. On a review 
of the subject it will be seen what benefits w^ould 
be likely to accrue to the Province of Assam^ if 
such a scheme was carried out. It is generally 
believed there are three routes from Assam to 
Northern Ava and the Khyendwen river. The 
first is by Hookong, a territory occupied by Sing- 
phoos, a lawless disunited people ; and before that 
point is reached^ a most desolate country of nearly 
two hundred miles has to be traversed^ two causes 
sufficient to deter traders from following such a 
course, and it is, therefore, complete^ closed. 



46 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



The second route is from Seebsaghur to Cheng*- 
bang- in the Nag-ah hills^ a journey of four days ; 
and^ from Cheng-bang* to Langa^ it is estimated 
that the distance may be two days' journey^ and 
thence to the valley of the Khyendwen it is said 
to be two more ; requiring* altog'ether eight days^ 
two in the plains and six in the hills. The opening 
of this route is not deemed impracticable^ though 
difficult, particularly as the Nagahs have not yet 
been brought thoroughly under British rule^ 
though they nominally acknowledge fealty to the 
British Government. Until this be completely 
elFected^ and we can ensure the safety of life and 
property to the traveller^ no trade could be carried 
on with Assam by this route. At present we have 
little or no control over the Nagahs^ nor is there 
any likelihood of the Nagahs becoming civilised 
within the next century^ and desirous of a free 
intercourse being kept up with strangers. This 
route^ therefore, even if opened, must, in conse- 
quence, be deemed closed to traders. 

The third route to the Khyendwen river is from 
the south-eastern quarter of the Now Gong District 
through the Angahmee Nagah hills, via Sumokhoo- 
Ting^ Tokojinah-mah, and Mozo-mah. This last 
village is 133 miles from Now-Gong, or twelve days' 



MODES OF COMMUNICATION. 47 



journey; beyond Mozo-mah to the south-east the 
country has not yet been explored by any European ; 
a thannah and police militia have been located at 
Sumokhoo-Ting' since 1846^ and the Anghamee 
Naghas have received our advances very favourably, 
and entreated that other posts might be established 
among"st them. When this is accomplished, and 
this tribe submits to taxation, which is anticipated 
to occur at no very distant day, there will, 
probably, not be any insuperable difficulty in 
crossing the southern mountains to the Khy end- 
wen river, estimated at about eight days' journey 
from Mozo-mah. 

The supposition of the Angahmee Naghas becom- 
ing friendly, and fully able to supply all provisions 
required, renders such an undertaking apparently 
very feasible. But, admitting that this last route 
is opened, and safe for traders at the point crossed 
in the third route to the Khyendwen river, the 
Shan population is very scanty, and, therefore, 
there could be little or no trade that would confer 
much benefit on the A ssamese ; and the route, 
once opened, would expose central Assam to all 
the cruel ravages of the Burmese, an old and 
inveterate foe, who would take every opportunity 
of any misunderstandings between the two Govern- 



48 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



ments to send hostile parties to enter into the very- 
heart of the unprotected southern frontier of 
Assam and centre of the valley^ lay waste the 
country^ and carry off the effeminate people as 
slaves. If this route was once made easy, it is 
greatly to be feared that the valley of Assam 
would seldom be left undisturbed^ and our military 
force would be required to be located on the 
southern mountains, to guard the passes into the 
Now-Gong District. In every view, therefore, it 
would seem uncalled for and unnecessary for the 
promotion of commerce, as it would be visionary 
and unwise to open roads to admit enemies into the 
province. 

The fourth route into the Burmese territory is via 
Sumokhoo-Ting", Tireeah-mah, Poplongmaee, and 
Yang, to Muneepoor, which was travelled over in 
January, 1832, by Captains Jenkins and Pemberton; 
and, as there is a police post established at Dheemah- 
poor, it only remains for the Muneepoor Govern- 
ment to establish another post at Yang, when the 
communication with Now-Gong would be immedi- 
ately opened, and rendered safe for travellers and 
trade. At no distant day we may expect to see 
this route used, and by this course a little trade 
might be carried on with Assam. 



RETURN JOURNEY. 49 



The fifth route from Now-Gong- to Muneepoor is 
throug-h Northern Cachar to Silchar^ on the river 
Sormah ; it is open and perfectly safe for travellers 
and traders throug'hout the year^ and it is by this 
line that we hold any intercourse with Muneepoor 
by land from Now-Gong*. 

14:th, — The thermometer at Mozo-mah, at seven 
A.M., stood at thirty-six deg-rees^ and sheets of 
hoar frost covered the summits of the hills ; we all 
felt the cold very much^ and^ setting" out at eig-ht 
A.M., we trudged along- rapidly to keep ourselves 
warm, and, by three p.m., we reached Cheereh-mah, 
making two of our advance marches in one, dis- 
tance ten miles ; but it must be borne in mind 
that, after the first long* ascent from Mozo-mah, we 
descended from the hills, which were upwards of 
5,000 feet hig*h. Another circumstance that also 
rendered our return march more rapid and easy, was 
owing* to the precaution we had taken, whilst at 
Mozo-mah, of having- some of the narrow paths 
over frightfully hig-h precipices, widened and fenced 
in, so that we traversed the passes in half the time 
occupied in our advance. The Coolies, or por- 
ters, and the troops, rejoiced g-reatly at our return 
to our old encampment at Cheereh-mah, for the 
former, being thinly clad, suffered exceedingly. 

E 



50 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



from the cold experienced at Mozo-mah. In fact 
the whole camp was in a state of one continued 
coug-h all night. Roaring- fires were made, and 
each porter was supplied with a Nagah cloth as a 
covering" ; but still their suffering's^ while exposed in 
an open bivouac^ were g-reat^ and many were heard 
to say that they should remember the Nag-ah trip 
for the remainder of their lives. It was laughable 
to hear the natives describe their sufferings at 
Mozo-mah to the people who brought us our letters 
from Now-Gong. The weather^ they said, was so 
intensely cold that even fire would not consume 
the wood^ and when they put their hands into the 
flame^ though they were slightly singed^ they felt 
no heat. 

Close to our camp^ we discovered a piece of 
cotton cloth^ which the servants recognized as be- 
longing to the unfortunate cook who refused to be 
carried by a Coolie^ and was left behind at Cheereh- 
mah^ on the 10th ; he had been seen on the pre- 
vious day by a party of police, close to our camp, 
who gave him some rice, and, though he was 
afflicted with a bowel complaint, we were sadly 
disappointed on our arrival in not finding him, and 
concluded that he had been devoured by tigers. 
Two days afterwards, however, the chief of Mozo- 



DEATH OF THE COOK. 



51 



mah broug-ht in his blanket to us at Rojapo-mah, 
and assured us that he had found the corpse' close 
to our camp, by the side of the river Deeboo^ and as 
there were no wounds or appearance of violence on 
the body^ there can be little doubt but that the 
poor wretch died from diarrhoea, a lamentable 
victim to the effects, or rather the want, of opium. 
We all much reg'retted that we had not sent back 
a party of Sipahees with some porters to bring* in 
the poor man, but on the 10th, at the end of a 
fatio-uinof march, no one could have returned that 
day, and till nig-ht-fall we expected him to join us. 
Besides, as the chief of Tokojina-mah, on the morn- 
ing* of the 10th, had promised us that he would 
take care of him till we returned, we were under 
little apprehension for his safety. From all we 
could learn, however, on our return, the cook, it 
appeared, refused to g-o to the Nag-ah villag-e ; he 
probably felt safer in our old camp than in their 
company, and, in consequence, sank under his 
disease, on the ni^ht before we returned. 

15th, — About eig-ht a. m., the loads of the 
porters who carried our bag-g-ag-e and provisions 
being- arrang'ed, we commenced our march in the 
usual order. The morning* was mild in com- 
parison with what we had experienced at Mozo- 

E 2 



62 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



mah ; still the ground was covered with hoar-frost 
in many places^ and when we took to the bed of 
the river Deeboo^ we felt it excessively cold, and 
were upwards of four hours in reaching* Rojapo- 
mah. Few of us, however, thought much of 
this day's exposure in wading- through so much 
water for so many hours with naked feet, as we 
had become inured to this sort of travelling* ; more- 
over, we were returning* to our camp, and promised 
ourselves a few days of rest after our late fatig'ues. 



PBEPARATIOKS FOR A TRIP. 



53 



CHAPTER V. 

Preparations for the expeditioi to Northern Cachar — Severe cold — 
The village of Beereh-mah — Mode of life among the Nagahs— The 
advantages of teetotalism in the jungle — The village of Semkur 
— Flight of the inhabitants — Hosang-Hajoo — A visit to the chief 
— Return to Now- Gong — Results of the expedition. 

The ICth and 17th were passed in making* pre- 
parations for our trip to Hosang-Hajoo^ in Northern 
Cachar; we reduced our force to fifty bayonets; 
packed up our provisions — sixty maunds^ or 4^800 
lbs. of rice, dal, oil, treacle, and tobacco — in small 
cane baskets, lined with leaves, each containing- 
twenty seers weight, or a Coolie's load, and wer6 
prepared to commence our march on the 18th. 
Unfortunately, it was a very wet day, and^ as the 
whole camp was comfortably housed in little g-rass 
huts, we thought it most prudent to halt another day. 

On the 19th, at nine a.m., we set out and passed 
through the village of Eojapo-mah. The chief, who 
was very civil, took us to his house, and beg-ged 



54 



TEAVELS IN ASSAM. 



US to taste his liquor from a wooden trough ; but 
we declined drinking- at so early an hour^ and were 
glad of any excuse to avoid partaking" of such a 
beverage. After leaving the village^ the road was 
excellent for a couple of miles 5 we then entered 
a heavy^ dense^ bamboo jungle^ which we passed 
through with the greatest difficulty^ and were much 
annoyed by leeches; after this, we climbed several 
low hills, and passed through dense, wet, long grass 
and tree jungle alternately. We then ascended 
a high hill, and wound round along the ridge 
for some distance till we descended to the Konboo 
river, at the base of the village of Chah-mah. Our 
camp was very confined and damp, and though the 
march was only nine miles and a half, the porters 
with our provisions and baggage did not come 
into camp till six p.m., greatly exhausted. As we 
had been enveloped in a dense wet mist or fog all 
day, and our clothes were completely saturated, we 
hailed with no little joy the arrival of the porters 
with dry clothes and provisions, though at a late 
hour. 

20th» — At eight a.m., hoar frost covered the 
ground, and the thermometer was at thirty-six 
degrees, but we started at nine. Immediately on 
leaving camp, we ascended a long, high hill, and 



SEVERE COLD. 



55 



wound over a precipitous ridg-e for some distance 
with many ascents and descents^ through heavy 
g-rass and tree jung-le. We then passed throug'h 
the villag-e of Lehah-mah^ consisting' of thirty-nine 
houses. The chief came out to meet us^ and pre- 
sented to us fowls^ ^g'g'Sj cloths, &c._, as tribute, 
and, on receiving* a few conch shells, beads, knives, 
scissors, and handkerchiefs, as a return present, he 
was quite delighted, and went back to the villag'e 
and broug-ht us a basket of apples, the finest I ever 
saw in India. They looked like orang-e pippins, 
but were as sour as verjuice. We saw some 
fine peach trees close to the villag'e, and met with 
many oak and fir ti»ees; coffee in full berry was 
also abundant. 

On leaving- Lehah-mah the road was execrable — a 
mere blind footpath; and the jung"le so thick that 
our progress was much impeded. After climbing 
and winding round the sides of several hills, we 
quitted the grass jungle and came out on hills 
totally clear of trees, and entered the village of 
Lakeh-mah, consisting of thirty-seven houses. On 
exchanging the usual presents the chief was well 
pleased, and we passed on to a deep valley, from 
which, by a zigzag footpath, we were led over one 
of the most precipitous hills I have ever crossed. 



56 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



We were obliged to crawl up it on our hands and 
knees with naked feet ; walking- was quite out of 
the question, for the paths were as slippery as 
glass, and a single false step would have ended in 
destruction by a roll down a precipice of many 
hundred feet. With great labour^ however^ we all 
managed to crawl over it in perfect safety, and 
reaching the banks of a small stream, not far from 
Beereh-mah, by five p. m., in the midst of high 
grass jungle, we set to work quickly and soon 
erected grass huts, and the porters coming into 
camp by eight P. M., completely knocked up, we 
were not long in getting our dinner, and making 
ourselves comfortable for the night. 

Some idea may be formed of the impassable 
nature of the country we travelled over this day, 
when I state that we only came eight miles one 
furlong, by the perambulator, in eight hours. It 
is perfectly wonderful to observe the hardy little 
hill Kookie and Meekir porters, with their loads, 
wend their Avay over these steep hills and preci- 
pices ; each porter carries a spear, the handle of 
which being pointed with iron, he places on the 
ground, and advances steadily and safely over the 
most fearful places, with greater facility than 
people of the plains can without any load or in- 



THE VILLAGE OF BEEREH-MAH. 67 

cumbrance. Indeed^ Assamese porters would be 
perfectly useless in this hilly country. The Nagali 
g-uides and our interpreters seemed determined to 
take us by the most impassable routes ; almost 
every hig'h hill might have been avoided, if we had 
known the country, and had cut a path previously 
to our advance j but to this the Nag-ahs seem 
averse, and their endeavour always is to g'o over 
the summits of the highest hills in a straig"ht line, 
forg-etting', or being* ignorant, that the longest way 
round is generally the shortest way home. On 
this day we saw the snowy mountains of Bootan, 
close to Tezpore, at the incredible distance, I 
imagine, of not less than 100 or 150 miles in a 
straight line ; we were all struck with their mag- 
nificent grandeur. 

2lst, — We marched at nine A. M., and after a 
long, tedious, fatiguing ascent, through fields of 
rice and cotton, we gained the summit of the high 
hill on which the village of Beereh-mah, consisting 
of 117 houses, is situated. The entrance to the 
village was over a single plank laid across a 
wide ditch, and the hill was steep and pangied* 



* Pangies are a species of sharpened bamboo struck in the ground, 
and forming an effective defence against any sudden incursion of the 
enemy. 



58 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



in every direction^ and rendered inaccessible to 
any sudden attack. Having* been greatly fatigued 
by the previous day's march^ although we had 
only some three miles to g-o^ we deemed it prudent 
not to proceed further^ and encamped at the foot of 
the hill. The Nag-ahs here^ as in most other 
plac^ we passed through, seem to lead most idle 
lives^ loung-ing' about their court-yards^ basking* 
in the sun throug-hout the morning*, and drinking- 
the usual beverag-e, a fermented liquor made of 
rice. 

The inhabitants of Beereh-mah are in person the 
most filthy set of Nag^ahs we ever met with. 
Their bodies are literally covered with dirt, and 
in dealing* or bartering* they practise many mean 
and petty tricks, in order to drive as hard a 
bargain as possible. They are totally devoid 
of a spark of generosity, and will not give the 
most trifling* articles without receiving* remune- 
ration. They are g*reat traders in brass orna- 
ments, conch shells, and beads ; and it is said that, 
till very lately, it was the g*reat mart on these 
hills for the sale of slaves. The atmosphere here 
was particularly clear, dry, and bracing*, the ther- 
mometer standing* at 36 deg*. at eig-ht A. m. The 
low hills close to Beereh-mah appear to have all 



MODE OF LIFE AMONG THE NAGAHS. 59 

been under cultivation^ as they are covered with 
grass three or four feet hig-h^ and are very free from 
tree jungle. 

22nd, — We left Beereh-mah at eight a.m., and 
encamped at two p. m. in the midst of a heavy 
tree jungle by the side of a small stream, barely 
sufficient to supply our wants ; but as there was 
no water, we were informed, for many miles be- 
yond this, we were constrained to encamp, although 
we had only come seven miles in six hours. 

The first ascent from camp was long, steep, and 
fatiguing; a blind path led us over undulating- 
hills, covered with tree jungle, and confining our 
view to a few paces before us, which rendered 
the march dull, gloomy, and monotonous. We 
met with the coffee plant growing under the shade 
of large trees most luxuriantly, and we picked up 
gallons of apples, but they were miserably small 
and excessively sour. 

2Srd. — Our route to-day was very tortuous over 
low undulating hills, or skirting' round the base 
of high hills for three or four miles. We then 
traversed a comparatively level country, and crossed 
the Longting and Langjillee streams, at this time 
five or six yards wide ; but in the rains they cannot 
be less than twenty or thirty yards broad. Be- 



60 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



sides these streams we crossed two small rivulets, 
and after ascending* the high hill of Bosompoe-mah^ 
a villag-e of twenty houses, we encamped close 
to it, having-, by the perambulator, come thirteen 
miles three furlongs in about seven hours. Be- 
tween Beereh-mah and Bosompoe-mah, a distance 
of twenty miles, an uninterrupted heavy tree jungle 
prevails, devoid of a single human habitation ; at 
least, if any exist, they were hidden from our view. 
A more dreary, gloomy, desolate wilderness can 
scarcely be imagined. We served out two days' 
provisions to each individual in camp to-day, and 
directed the spare porters to hasten on in advance 
to their homes in Northern Cachar by forced 
marches, as we could not tell how many days we 
should be in reaching Cachar, or whether we 
should have any surplus provisions, if not supplied 
in that district. 

24:th, — The ascents and descents to-day were 
frequent and sharp. The path was very tolerable, 
though it was exceedingly winding, and passed 
through a desolate wilderness of bamboos, tree 
and grass jungle. We were six hours travelling 
eleven miles and a quarter, and encamped near a 
small stream in the midst of a bamboo jungle. 
Two large rivers were crossed during the day. 



ADVANTAGES OF TEETOTALISM. 61 

called the Tumakee, or Dhunseeree, and the 
Toomkee^ besides several other small rivulets. 

26th. — We marched at seven a.m., and passed 
throug-h the deserted villages of Deelong* and 
Koodeerong-, situated on rather high hills. The 
path was execrable the whole da}^, passing" through 
dense heavy grass and huggra, or reed jungle, as 
well as high bamboos and tree forest alternately, 
and our view was confined to the narrow path over- 
grown with jungle ten and twenty feet high. We 
crossed the Par river, and walked up the beds of 
four other streams; the first, five furlongs; the 
second, two miles one furlong; the third, four 
furlongs ; and the fourth, two miles and a quarter. 
We were all much fatigued by climbing over huge 
boulders and round rolling stones, in and out of 
the water, ankle deep, for so many miles, and did 
not reach our camp near Semkur, till four, p.m., 
distance sixteen miles. As usual, we encamped in 
a dense jungle of bamboos, and, though it was only 
four P.M., we could scarcely see. 

Our surveyor came into camp completely ex- 
hausted, and we thought he was attacked by fever ; 
the fact, however, was, that he was a very abste- 
mious man, and was always boasting of the inex- 
pressible delight he experienced in satisfying his 



62 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



thirst from every limpid stream, and eating sweet 
biscuits. By his own account, on this distressing* 
march he had swallowed a quart of cold water, 
and he came into camp pale as death, and talked 
of going to bed directly. Perceiving", however, 
very clearly the position he was in, we g-ave him a 
pint of warm porter, and he rallied instantly, and, 
with a dish of hermetically sealed soup, and a 
slice of ham, he soon g-ot over his fatig-ue, and 
ever afterwards he failed not to join our party in a 
substantial luncheon on cold fowl and bacon, or 
beef, with a g-lass of brandy-and-water. 

Whilst leading' a sedentary life in the plains, a 
sweet biscuit and a g'lass of water may be whole- 
some enoug-h, but the wear and tear and exposure 
to wet and cold in the damp jung-les, united with 
excessive fatig-ue in climbing* steep hills, certainly 
require a more g-enerous diet ; for I am persuaded 
that half the sickness on these trips is g-enerated by 
bad living and over fatigue. In the evening we all 
sat down together, and mutually sympathized in 
each other's sufferings over a glass of grog and a 
cheroot ; and, before we retired to rest, we wished 
each other a happy Christmas night, but no more 
returns of such a trying Christmas day's journey, 
through a country swarming with wild elephants. 



FLIGHT OF THE INHABITANTS. 63 

26th, — Having- failed yesterday in reaching- the 
village of Semkur^ a short walk this morning- of a 
mile brought us to it^ when we discovered that the 
inhabitants had all fled to the jung-le^ fearing- that 
they would be seized as porters to carry our 
bag-g-age; not knowing- that we required neither 
provisions nor porters^ for we had brought what we 
required with us throughout the whole journey, 
and were thus quite independent of the Hill tribes, 
on whom it would be the height of folly to trusty 
when the success of the expedition depended on 
the freedom of its movements. Nothing-, however^ 
that we could say^ prevailed on the inhabitants to 
return to their village. They urg-ed the fear of 
being- seized to act as porters ; but this was a mere 
pretext 3 they had had an affray with the Nag*ahs 
some months previously^ and were apprehensive 
that they might be deemed answerable for several 
who were killed on the occasion ; but mutual in- 
juries rendered retaliation unnecessary. All that was 
insisted on was a cessation from future hostilities. 

Semkur is in the jurisdiction of Tooleeram^ and is 
inhabited by a mixed class of Cacharees and Nagahs. 
A few years ago it contained 200 houses 3 but has 
dwindled down to thirty-nine. They have several 
salt springs, and, it is said, they used to supply the 



64 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Nag-ahs with a large quantity of salt in exchange 
for pigs, cloth, and rice, of which latter article they 
grew little, confining their attention chiefly to the 
manufacture of salt. Now, however, the salt 
springs are scarcely worked, or only sufficiently to 
supply their own wants. 

21th, — We inarched from Semkur at eight a.m., 
and travelled over an undulating country, through 
high reed grass jungle and bamboos, for four hours, 
when, suddenly, our guide declared he had for- 
gotten the path, and this caused us little surprise, 
as the country was so full of wild elephants' tracks 
that it was impossible to discern the right path, 
unless we were certain we were proceeding in the 
proper direction. The grass, however, was so high 
that we could not see five paces before us ; having, 
therefore, lost the road, we were quite bewildered. 
Our party consisted of about 300 men, and not a 
soul knew the route ; in this dilemma we began to 
retrace our steps, and, after wandering about for 
an hour in all directions through a heavy jungle, 
with our clothes completely saturated, at last to our 
great delight, Ramdass, a Cacharee guide, climbed 
up a tree and soon put us on the right track to 
Hosang-Hajoo. After traversing a low ridge of 
hills for some time, exposed to the sun, we soon 



HOSANG-HAJOO. 



65 



became dry, and then descended into the bed of the 
Mahoor river^ up which we wended our way for 
two miles and seven furlongs. 

From this point, the ascent to the summit of 
the hill on which the village of Hosang-Hajoo is 
situated, is a distance of two miles. Being greatly 
fatigued, we had made up our minds to encamp on 
the banks of the Mahoor river for the night, but, 
gaining certain intelligence of our being so near 
our own more civilized villages in Cachar, in a 
moment all forgot the fatigue of the day, and a 
loud huzzah proclaimed our advance to Hosang- 
Hajoo, which we reached at four p.m., having- come 
fourteen miles in eight hours. We were truly 
delighted at reaching this little stockaded out-post, 
gi rrisoned by twenty men of the Now-Gong police 
militia, as all our anxieties lest we should run short 
of provisions, become bewildered in the jungles, or 
be attacked at night by the Nagahs, and other con- 
tingencies, were now at an end. The Nagahs had 
built us comfortable huts, and we all spent a merry 
evening over a log-wood fire, and the meeting with 
letters from our friends added in no small degree to 
our joy and satisfaction, for we had been some 
weeks without receiving any d^k or post, as the 
letter-bearers wisely refused to cross the Dhun- 

F 



66 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



seeree river to join our party in a country, where 
the lives of friends or foes are in equal jeopardy. 

2Sth. — Early this morning-, the Nag-ah chief of the 
villag-e of Hosang--Hajoo, invited us to accompany 
him throug-h the villag-e. We first went to a large 
building" called Rang-kee or the Daka chang*, in 
which all the boys of the villag-e reside, until they 
are married. The building* was about sixty feet 
long*, and twenty hig-h, with g-able ends. The 
inside of the house consisted of one larg-e room, in 
the centre of which a wood fire was burning- on the 
g-round, and wooden stools were arranged in rows 
for the boys to sleep upon. At one end, a small 
room was partitioned off for the accommodation of 
an elderly man, who was superintendent of the 
establishment. There were forty boys assembled; we 
g-ave them presents of knives, beads, and scissors, 
and asked them, whether they would learn to read 
Assamese, if a schoolmaster were appointed to teach 
them. They were hig-hly pleased with their presents, 
and declared they would most assuredly try to 
learn the Assamese lang-uag-e, if a schoolmaster 
were appointed. A schoolmaster was according-ly 
at once located in the villag-e, and the Bible in 
Assamese and Bengalee, with other books, was 
supplied. In the course of a year, several boys 



A VISIT TO THE CHIEF. 



67 



learned the first rudiments of the language^ and one 
has attained such proficiency as to be able to write 
an Assamese letter. Who shall say that the Bible 
will not be the means of chang-ing- the habits and 
ideas of these wild savag'es.^ The experiment is 
worthy of trial ; they have no caste or prejudices of 
creed to deter them from adopting- Christianity ; 
and^ if successful in one instance^ it cannot be 
deemed visionary to anticipate that the darkness 
and igTiorance that now overshadow the land may 
be speedily dispelled^ when our rule will prove a 
blessing" to these benig-hted tribes^ who would 
henceforth enjoy the fruit of their labours in peace 
and prosperity. 

On leaving the boys, our attention was next 
directed to the Hilokee (a building- of similar 
dimensions and construction with the Rang-kee)^ 
devoted entirely to the use or residence of the 
g-irls of the villag-e, who live in it altog-ether^ in the 
same manner as the boys, until the day of their 
marriag-e. About twenty damsels presented them- 
selves ; they were all decently attired ; a larg-e * 
sheet with coloured stripes was worn round the 
waist, extending* to the knees, and a blue cloth w^as 
folded over the breast under the arms : a profusion 
of g-lass bead necklaces adorned their necks with a 

F 2 



68 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



number of brass ear-ring*s of all sizes. An old 
woman superintended the establishment^ and the 
utmost order seemed to prevail in both the 
Rangkee and the Hilokee. 

The boys and g*irls take their meals with their 
parents^ work for them during the day^ and at nig-ht 
retire to their respective asylums ; all the youths 
see the g-irls during* the day without the smallest 
restraint^ and they select their own wives, and are 
married by the consent of their parents. In the 
afternoon, the chief came down to our camp with 
all the unmarried g-irls of the village, whom we had 
seen in the morning-. They were all neatly dressed, 
and walked in file two deep, holding* each other by 
the hand, and wheeled into line as reg-ularly 
as a reg-iment on parade. All the young* men 
of the village followed in the rear, singing and 
clapping their hands. At first we could not 
imagine what was the meaning of the procession, 
until we were told that they were going to honour 
our visit with a grand dance. Line having been 
• formed, and the camp assembled, two damsels 
stepped out in front of the party, and danced with 
a peculiar kind of hopstep on one leg alternately, 
different from anything- I have ever seen, in excel- 
lent time, to a song and clapping of hands by the 



A VISIT TO THE CHIEF. 



69 



young' men. When these damsels were fatig'ued^ 
two others in succession modestly stepped out and 
kept up the dance^ and when it was over^ we g^ave 
each 3'oung' lady a silver four anna piece^ when they 
wheeled into line, and in ecstasies with their 
presents of scissors, needles, and beads, marched 
home with all the youths in regular order, sing-ing- 
as they went along*. 

In stature the Nag-ah women are ghort and 
athletic, with flat noses, small sharp eyes, the upper 
front teeth projecting- a little, and the hair cut 
short whilst sing-le ; but, when married, the hair 
is allowed to g'row long-. They are coarse and 
plain, which is not to be wondered at, as they per- 
form all manner of drudg-ery in the field, supply 
the house with water and fuel, and make what- 
ever clothing is required by the family. 

A vast chang-e has come over the Nag-ahs in this 
villag-e ; formerly shells and beads would purchase 
anything*; but it is not so now. The chief re- 
marked, Since we became British subjects, we have 
paid revenue in coin, and with it we can procure 
anything- we require , we, therefore, no long-er 
want shells and beads ; we are now protected by a 
g'uard from the attacks of our neig"hbours, can 
cultivate our land, have cows, pigs and fowls. 



70 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



and enjoy the fruit of our labour in peace and 
security." 

The Nag-ahs are the most unprejudiced race I 
have ever met with as regards their diet. They 
eat dog's, rats^ elephants^ tig'ers^ rhinoceroses, cows^ 
pigs and fowls ; but^ strange to say, they have no 
ducks. A dead elephant is esteemed a great prize 
as well as a delicacy. The flesh is merely dried in 
the smoke and eaten without any further cooking, 
either roasting or boiling. They are extremely 
fond of spirituous liquors, the stronger the better 5 
we gave them wine^ beer, and brandy 5 the latter 
was highly approved of, but the bitter taste of the 
beer they did not at all relish ; they did not either 
like vinegar or sauces, or anything sour; but 
sugar, jams, aniseed, or anything sweet, pleased 
them much, and they immediately asked for more. 
In fact they ate and drank of everything we offered 
them, and smoked our cheroots with great satis- 
faction. If such a people could receive a moral 
education, how soon would their habits of rapine 
and murder be changed, and their fertile, well- 
watered soil, be converted into one of the most 
beautiful tracts on which mortals could reside. 

29th, — We marched from Hosang-Hajoo at seven 
A.M., and reached Thyloosa, a Cacharee village of 



RETURN TO NOW-GONG. 



71 



thirty-one houses^ not far from the Deeyong river at 
one P.M. The path was very tolerable, the ascents 
and descents frequent, but not long* or very steep, 
and the porters came into camp at three p.m. 

30^A. — To Alhoosa fifteen miles. In the course 
of the march we saw eight or ten small Cacharee 
villages; but we did not pass through any, our 
route being through thick bamboo jungle the 
greater part of the day. 

Slst, — To Patpoa fifteen miles five furlongs. As 
had been the case yesterday, the villagers had 
erected huts for our reception in a high bamboo 
jungle, and, on our arrival, the whole camp was 
supplied with provisions. Here the Havildar, who 
was taken ill at Semkur, and had been carried 
daily in a doolie, died on the march. This was the 
second man of the detachment who died from cold ; 
every care and precaution had been taken to pre- 
serve the health of the troops, by getting them 
little huts, and supplying them with abundance of 
good provisions, and giving them a pig at almost 
every Nagah village, but all in vain. They are so 
imprudent after a fatiguing march, in casting off 
their clothes when greatly heated and exhausted, 
and at night in exposing themselves to the damp 
atmosphere over their fires, that it is wonderful we 
only lost three lives during the expedition. 



72 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



1st January, — We were five hours marching" to 
Digram^ a distance of twelve miles. The path was 
g-ood and the ascents slig-ht ; but our supply of 
water was scanty^ consisting only of a couple of 
small pools of stagnant water^ as the stream was 
dried up. Our course from Hosang-Hajoo to this 
point was most dreary ; we scarcely met or saw 
any villag-es; our route for the last thirty miles 
was one continued monotonous trudge through 
bamboo jung-les, from day to day^ our view being- 
confined to the footpath we were travelling* along\ 
I suppose^ however^ our route was the most direct^ 
and fewer impediments to our progress were met 
with than would have been the case had we g-one 
from village to villag-e. We were constrained, 
therefore, to sacrifice the change of scenery^ and 
the pleasant meeting* and intercourse with the in- 
habitants of villag-es^ to the necessity of moving- 
onwards with the greatest facility ^ the more so as 
the Sipahees still continued to suffer much from 
coughs^ colds, swollen, bruised and cut feet^ which 
compelled us^ after leaving* Semkur^ to cause three 
or four men to be carried along in doolies every 
march. To-day we saw a crow for the first time 
since we left Dheemahpoor and entered the hills. It 
is a remarkable circumstance that there are neither 
crows nor jackals in the Nagah hills^ and their 



RESULTS OF THE EXPEDITION. 



73 



absence failed not to make us feel very sensibly 
that we were in a different climate and country. 

2nd. — Watjoor on the Deeyong- river. We made 
our march to this place in three hours. Here we 
paid off the Kookies and Meekir Coolies or porters^ 
who served us so faithfully throughout this expedi- 
tion, which may now very properly be said to be 
concluded^ as on this day we left the hills^ and the 
next morning- crossed the river Deeyong-. From this 
pointy in four easy marches throug-h the plains^ we 
reached the station of Now-Gong-^ whence we set 
out on 6th January^ via Allunkah^ Kamurakattah^ 
and Kotteeatollee. 

The result of our trip may be now briefly stated. 
A long' and successful tour of 338 miles had been 
made from Now-Gono» vid Kachooamaree, Dhee- 
mahpoor on the Dhunseeree river^ thence to Rojapo- 
mah, Mozomah, and Kono-mah^ eastward. Our 
course was then to the south-west by Chah-mah^ 
Beereh-mah^ Sankur^ Hosang--Hajoo to Northern 
Cachar, debouching- by the Deeyong- Mookh or 
Mouths^ on the plains of Assam to Now-Gong-. 
The following' table shows the stag-es and distance 
of each day's journey : — 



Date. 


Names of stages 
from Now- Gong to 


Number 
of miles. 


Remarks. 


1845. 


Camp 


mis. 


fur. 




Nov.20, Koteeatollee .. 


12 





Large village 


21' 




10 





Large villasre on Jummoonah river 


22 Howrah-ghat . . 


10 





Small village on Jummoonah river 


23 Kachooamaree . 


12 





Small village 


24 








25 


Seelbhetali .... 


15 





On f np> .Tnmmnnnjin rivPT 


26 Mohungdehooa 


1 A 





Small village on Jummoonah river 




15 





A small stream, dense tree jungle 


28 i Dheemapoor . . 


15 





Dhunseeree river 


29 


Halted 


— 






30 










Dec. 1 




— 






2 




— 






3 




— 






4 
5 


Deeboo river . 


10 





Near pass of Sumokhuting 


6 


Rojapo-mah . . 


7 


1 


Camp on west bank of Deeboo 


7 


Halted 


— 




River two miles from Rojapo-mah 


8 
9 


Cheereh-mah . . 


— 
9 





On the Deeboo river 


10 


Deeyong river . . 


7 





Camp tree and bamboo jungle 


11 


Mozo-mah .... 


3 





Camp rice fields 


12 


Halted 


— 




13 
14 


Cheereh-mah . . 


— 
10 





On the Deeboo river 


15 


Rojapo-mah . . 


9 







16 


Halted 


— 






17 


») 


— 






18 


ij 


— 






19 


Chahmah 


9 


4 


Camp Kambao stream 


20 


NearBeereh-mah 


8 


1 


On the banks of a river 


21 


Beereh-mah . . 


3 





Hills covered with grass, small stream 


22 


Camp tree jungle 


7 





Small spring, but little water 


23 


Bosompoe-mah 


13 


3 


Small spring 


24 


Bamboo jungle 


11 


2 




25 


Bamboo jungle 


16 







26 




1 





Small village 


27 


Hosang-Hajoo . . 


14 





Little water from a spring on the hill 


28 


Halted 


— 




29 




8 


3 




30 




15 







31 


Mere path from 










Deeyong river 


10 


O 




1846. 










Jan. 1 


Camp Digram . . 


12 





Little water 


2 




7 





On the Deeyong river 


3 




8 


4 


Muddy water stream 


4 


Kamura katta. . 


10 





5 


Koteeatollee . . . 


12 







6 


Now- Gong .... 


12 







- 


Total 


338 mis. 





RESULTS OF THE EXPEDITION. 75 

Not a shot was fired throughout the journey^ or 
the slightest sign of a hostile feeling manifested 
towards the mission^ which wisely was too powerful 
to admit of opposition. We were everywhere 
received with a friendly spirit^ and the chiefs of each 
village rendered cheerful submission^ and presented 
tribute of elephants' tusks^ cloths^ and spears, 
according to their means. Mr. Thornton^ who 
accompanied the expedition^ surveyed the route 
traversed, and plotted off on a large scale a most 
valuable map of the greatest portion of the Nagah 
hills attached to the district of Now-Gong. The 
grand objects of the expedition, the conciliation of 
the tribes, and the acquirement of more accurate 
knowledge of the country, were, therefore, con- 
sidered to have been more fully attained than on 
any former occasion. 

The Kookie porters, inhabitants of Northern 
Cachar, in the Now-Gong district^ who accom- 
panied us throughout the journey, are so little 
known, that they merit distinct notice. The in- 
formation given about them in the next chapter, is 
gathered from public reports, and inquiries carried 
on personally among the chiefs of the tribe and 
the people itself. 



PART 11. 



THE HILL TRIBES OF ASSAM. 



RarL&"V*est IjtV 

Kookie Warrior. 

?uU,sl,«a W Simtk.Hdfir 8c C° CamkJl.1854 



PART n. 

THE HILL TRIBES OF ASSAM. 



CHAPTER VI. 

The Kookies — Population— Government— Marriage rites — Criminal 
code — Funerals— Religion — Hunting and war — Customs — Occupa- 
pation — Productions — Character — Dress — Revenue — Villages. 

The Kookies aver^ that they emigrated from 
Tipparah to Northern Caehar, in the reign of 
Kishen Chunder^ sixty years ag-o^ and in the 
years 1828, 1829, Gobind Chunder, Rajah of 
Cachar, employed them to wage war with Too- 
leeram Senaputtee. On one occasion they, in con- 
cert with Tooleeram's cousin, Gobind-Ram, com- 
pletely took him by surprise, set fire to his house, 
cut up a number of his followers, and dispersed 
the remainder; and after this event, finding* the 
country probably free from enemies likely to dis- 
turb them, they remained in their present position 
in Northern Cachar. 

In the year 184C-47, several colonies of new 



80 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Kookies immigrated from Tipparah, vid the bed of 
the Barak river^ and joined their brethren in 
Northern Cachar. The number of tribes, and 
the total population of all classes residing* in 
Northern Cachar^ is estimated by the following- 
Table at 21^345 souls :— 







Number 


Persons 


Total 




a 


Name of Clans. 


of 


in each 


of each 








Houses. 


House. 


House. 




1 


Hozae Cacharee 


234 


5 


1170 




3 


Hill Cacharee 


788 


5 


3940 




3 


Meekirs 


364 


5 


1820 




4 


Old Kookies 


667 


5 


3335 


> Kookies 


5 


New Kookies 


1515 


5 


7575 


\ 10,910 


6 


Nagahs 


701 


5 


3505 






4269 


5 


21,345 





Exterminating- wars among-st themselves having- 
compelled the Kookies to seek shelter and pro- 
tection in Cachar^ their attention seems wholly 
g-iven to ag^ricultural pursuits^ and they are appa- 
rently completely weaned from all desire of pur- 
suing- their old custom of perpetual war with their 
neighbours. They live on the most friendly terms 
with the Kachang- Nag-ah and Meekir tribes^ and 
are g-reatly respected by them for their known 
martial character. The marauding- Ang-ahmee Na- 
g-ahs look on the Kookies with awe or respect^ and 
havC; in consequence^ never dared to attack them. 



POPULATION. 



81 



.In the Tipparali district there are innumerable 
tribes or elans of Kookies under the rule of here- 
ditary Eajahs or chiefs. In Northern Cachar 
the principal old clans are four in number^ viz. : 
* Khelemah^ Kanthoe^ Bete^ Lamkron^ and with the 
last colony several Rajahs or chiefs have arrived^ 
whom all the Kookies seem to respect. They are 
divided into three clans^ as follows : — 



Villages. 


Houses. 


1. Jang'sen clan . . 


28 . 


. . 907 


2. Taddaee „ , . 


12 , 


. . 550 


3. Shingshoon . . 


1 . 


. . 62 


Grand Total 


41 


1,515 



For each of the old clans there are five chiefs 
or elected manag-ers of the community. The first 
is called a Ghalim ; the second^ Gaboor ; the 
third^ Burchapea ; the fourth^ Chota Chapea ; and 
the fifth^ Tang'ba. These five persons are elected 
by the Raj clan^ or village community^ and they 
form a council for the settlement of the affairs of 
the tribe, in accordance with the wishes of the 
people. In all affairs of importance they assem- 
ble together, and nothing is decided on excepting 
by the majority of the votes of the most influential 

G 



8Q 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



members of the clan^ g'iven throug*h the elected 
council. 

On the death of the Ghalim^ the Ghaboor suc- 
ceeds him and not his son or brother, and pro- 
motion is thus by reg-ular rotation. On the fifth 
being" promoted to the fourth g-rade, his vacancy 
is filled up by a general election of a proper per- 
son from the tribe to fill the vacant seat. The 
council decide all petty disputes, and impose fines 
on the delinquents for all trivial as well as hein- 
ous offences, and the penalty of death is not in- 
flicted either by the Rajah or the council for 
theft, adultery, or murder, and whatever is realized 
from fines by the council is divided amongst them 
according" to their respective g-rades. When a 
fine is paid with a pig", the animal is killed and cut 
up into pieces, and portions are g'iven to all the 
chiefs, as well as to the owner of the house in 
which the pig has been cooked, and the remainder 
is given in equal portions to the public. On mar- 
riages and deaths, and on occasions of worship- 
ping* the gods, the chiefs are first presented with 
spirituous liquor, and after them others of less dig-- 
nity, which is considered a great mark of respect. 

Marriage is not consummated before the ag'e of 
pubert3^ When a youth is desirous of marrying- 



MAEKIAGE RITES. 



83 



into any family^ his parents visit the parents of the 
damsel selected, and present a pitcher of spirituous 
liquor. If this be refused, the proposed alliance is 
declined ; but, if the liquor is accepted, the youth 
is sent for, and, if his father is able to pay in kind, 
or coin, twenty-five rupees (2/. IO5.) to the parents 
of the damsel, the marriag'e soon takes place; 
otherwise, the young- man is formally made over 
to the care of the parents of the damsel, to remain 
in bondage for a certain number of years, g-enerally 
two or three, and sometimes five. Should he fall 
sick, he returns home, and the period of absence 
does not count as part of the time ag'reed upon to 
be served. When the period of service expires, a 
g-rand feast is given in proportion to their means, 
and the marriag'e ceremony is performed by the 
Ghalim, or chief of the villag*e. The bride and 
bridegroom place their feet together on a large 
stone, and the Ghalim, after sprinkling both with 
water, addresses the bride thus : — 

"This man has taken you to be his wife: be 
faithful, and have no evil communications with 
other men. Live with him, cheer him with liquor 
and meat, and make him happy all the days of his 
life, and may you be blessed with a numerous 
progeny. If you act otherwise,you will be a worth- 

G 2 



84 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



less creature^ and will be fined heavily." With 
this peroration the marriage ceremony concludes^ 
and thenceforward they are deemed man and wife. 

If a woman leaves her husband^ and is g'uilty of 
adultery, the injured husband invites the members 
of the council to visit him at his house, places a 
jug* of liquor before them, and states his complaint. 
The offender is immediately summoned ; and, if 
g'uilty, does not hesitate to confess his g'uilt; the 
council of chiefs then fine him, in property or coin, 
about forty rupees. The injured husband receives 
thirty rupees of the fine, and the council retain ten 
rupees for their own remuneration. The faithless 
woman is not taken back by her injured husband, 
but is permitted to remain with the defendant. 

If a maiden is seduced, as soon as the parents 
hear of it they have her married at once to her 
lover, with the usual ceremonies. If a widow is 
seduced, a pot of liquor is exacted as a fine ; but 
the chiefs do not interfere in a matter of seduction 
as in a case of adultery. 

When a man's house is robbed, or cotton or 
^rain is stolen from the field, if the thief is appre- 
hended, he is fined ten rupees, which is paid to the 
plaintiff, who then purchases a pig* worth one 
rupee, and four annas worth of liquor, and gives 



CRIMINAL CODE. 



85 



both to the council for their decision on his case. 
If the charg-e of theft is not substantiated, the 
complainant is fined a pitcher of liquor. 

A year after the death of a man's wife he 
summons her relatives, treats them with liquor, 
and solicits permission to cut his hair. In the 
second year he ag-ain assembles his late wife's bro- 
thers and relatives, and gives them a feast of a pig", 
rice, and liquor, intimating* that his wife has been 
dead so long", and that he is desirous of marrying- 
ag'ain. If his request be acceded to, he may ag-ain 
enter the state of wedlock ; but without permission 
he cannot marry again. A widow is bound by the 
same custom as a widower. She may marry ag-ain 
after three years have elapsed from the death of 
her husband, with the consent of her deceased 
husband's relatives. 

If a man dies at night his body is burned in the 
morning. Vegetables and rice are placed on the 
spot where the body was burned, and the relatives 
of the deceased address the ashes of the consumed 
corpse thus, We bid you farewell to-day ; what- 
ever money and rice you have acquired, leave with 
us." On the following day friends resort to the 
deceased man's house, and offer up a sacrifice of a 
fowl to the gods Tevae and Sangron. Liquor is 



86 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



freely partaken, the g'ood qualities of the deceased 
are recited, and much lamentation is made. When 
a married man dies, all his friends assemble and 
bewail their loss. Veg-e tables and rice are cooked^ 
and placed on the left side of the corpse with a 
gourd or bottle of liquor. The whole party are 
then treated with liquor. The youths of the village 
prepare a bier, and the corpse is washed and dressed 
in new clothes to be burned. They place on the 
corpse his sickle^ spear^ eating utensils, and personal 
ornaments^ and a rupee on his mouth. The whole 
of the villa g'ers then, dressed out in their war habi- 
liments^ accompany the corpse to the funeral. The 
men who bear the body are entitled to the rupee 
placed on the mouth of the deceased. The widow 
puts on all her best clothes and ornaments, 
adorns herself with flowers, and joins the proces- 
sion bearing the body to the funeral pyre. On the 
body being consumed to ashes, the widow puts 
aside her ornaments and flowers, and takes a final 
leave of her husband's remains in the words. 
Thus long have we lived together, this day are 
we separated ! " and, placing rice and vegetables on 
the ashes of her husband, with reverential obeis- 
ance to the same, she returns home with dishevelled 
hair. 



FUNERALS. 



87 



The funerals of the Beli clan of Kookies are 
conducted in the following* fashion. Soon after 
death the corpse is washed with warm water, and 
covered up with a cloth ; after which friends are 
summoned to meet tog-ether at the house of the 
deceased, where, after passing* the day and night 
in taking- liquor and food, each individual g'ives 
the corpse a new cloth, the hody is interred with 
the clothes, ornaments, eating- utensils, sword and 
spear, and the company then return home. The 
day after the funeral a bamboo arrow is made, in 
front of the house where the deceased resided, and 
after being- spit on by every one, is then thrown 
into the jung-le. A tree is likewise planted, and 
a fowl sacrificed, which concludes the obsequies. 

Most indistinct notions are entertained in regard 
to religion. The Kookies certainly seem to believe 
in a future state of retribution and a plurality of 
gods or spirits, who, they affirm, have equal power. 
The principal deities worshipped are called Tevae 
and Sangron, to whom fowls, pigs, and spirituous 
liquor, are offered in sacrifice on all occasions of 
sickness, famine, or other affliction, which they 
conceive is the surest method of averting- evil and 
bringing their wishes and undertaking's to a suc- 
cessful termination. 



88 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



The Kookies have no images or temples of any 
kind. When the spirit departs from the body^ the 
ang-el of death is supposed to convey it away 
according- to its merits in this life. If a g'ood life 
has been led in this world^ the soul is transported, 
with a song" of triumph^ to the g'ods, ever after to 
remain at ease^ and free to go whither it listeth. 
The sinner_, however^ is subject to a variety of tor- 
ments — to impalement; to be cast into a deep burning 
gulf; hanging; and to exposure to the excruciating 
agony of being immersed in boiling water. As to 
how long liberty and happiness are enjoyed by the 
good^ or how long the wicked are tormented in the 
next w^orld^ no definite ideas seem to prevail. They 
imagine they are born again in some other state. 

Injuring the property of others^ or taking it 
without payment; using violence; abusing parents; 
fraudulently injuring another; giving false evidence; 
speaking disrespectfully to the aged ; marrying an 
elder brother's wife; putting your foot on, or walking- 
over, a man's body; speaking profanely of religion 
— are acts of impiety. 

Feeding the hungry ; giving alms to the poor ; 
liquidating the debts of the needy; giving shelter to, 
and assisting, travellers; bestowing anything- re- 
quired by another to make an offering to the deity; 



HUNTING AND WAR. 



89 



respecting' superiors ; fanning' a person when over- 
come with fatigue and heat; being kind to chil- 
dren ; teaching- the minah^ parrot^ and bheemraj, 
to talk ; worshipping the g'ods 3 bring'ing* a person 
home at nig'ht by torchlig'ht, when bewildered in 
the jungles ; obedience to parents and superiors 3 
gi>'ing water to the thirsty^ and being- courteous to 
ever}' body — are meritorious deeds. 

The Kookies are fond of hunting*, and destroy 
many elephants for the sake of the tusks^ which 
always meet with a ready sale in our markets. 
The weapons used are a small bow with poisoned 
arrows, a spear, and a dao or sword, a most de- 
structive kind of heavy short weapon. They are 
fond of war, but not apparently for the mere sake 
of plunder, but to gratify a spirit of reveng-e, or, it 
is said, to procure heads for some relig-ious cere- 
mony on the death of a Rajah. They do not 
attack their enemies openly in the day, but steal 
on them by nig'ht; and having* surrounded the 
phice to be attacked, at the break of day rush in 
on every quarter and exterminate young" and old, 
women and children, indiscriminately. If com- 
pletely successful, some few may be spared to be 
kept as slaves. Previously to setting- out on a 
Ijostile incursion, they offer up a pig" as a sacrifice 



90 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



to the deity. If any one of the party is slain 
by the enemy^ the corpse is buried on the spot 
without burning-^ the customary ceremonies being- 
dispensed withj and neither relatives nor friends 
lament tog-ether on the occasion. If victorious, 
they bring home the heads of their enemies, and, 
on reaching" their villages, the warriors, dressed 
out in their war attire, have a dance, beat 
drums, play bamboo-pipes and the instrument called 
jhanjh'y after which the heads of their enemies are 
fastened to a pole, and stuck up at a spot where 
three or four roads meet together. 

In a memoir on Sylhet, Cachar, and other dis- 
tricts, by the late Captain Fisher, formerly Super- 
intendent of Cachar, that officer states, ^' The 
object of the Kookie inroads on the plains is not 
plunder, for which they have never been known 
to show any desire, but they kill and carry away 
the heads of as many human beings as they can 
seize, and have been known, in one night, to carry 
off fifty. These are used in certain ceremonies 
performed at the funerals of their chiefs, and it 
is always after the death of one of their Eajahs 
that their incursions occur. The Kookies have 
been accused of cannibalism, and I am aware of 
one instance in which the charge seemed substan- 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 



91 



tiated, but they disclaim the imputation with much 
vehemence." 

In my tours in the hills I have had a good deal 
of communication with the Kookies, as they are 
the most hardy and best Coolies in the district for 
hill travelling". The Kookie chiefs have likewise 
frequently visited me at Now-Gong; and when- 
ever I put the question to them^ whether they did 
not eat the flesh of human beings slain in battle^ 
they have invariably promptly denied the exist- 
ence of such a custom in the tribe with apparent 
abhorrence ; and although nothing comes amiss to 
a Kookie — the elephant^ rhinoceros^ and beef^ be- 
ing equal delicacies — we have been unable to prove 
that they are or ever were cannibals. 

Lieutenant Vincent describes the new Kookies 
as follows: — "The new Kookie clans have an 
excellent form of government. They are presided 
over by Rajahs and Mun trees, who decide all 
matters of dispute brought before them; and in 
such respect do they hold their Rajahs that their 
word is law. One, among all the Rajahs of each 
class, is chosen to be the Prudham or chief Rajah 
of that clan. The dignity is not hereditary, as is 
the case with the minor rajahships, but is enjoyed 
by each Rnjah of the clan in rotation. All the 



92 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Rajahs are connected^ having sprung* from the 
same orig-inal stock ; nor can any other person 
succeed to this dignity until the present race of 
Rajahs is extinct. Should none of the family 
survive^ the family of the chief minister would be- 
come the head of the clan^ and^ consequently, that 
from which the Rajahs would be selected; but 
there can be little fear of any such conting-ency, 
as the person of the Rajah is held to be sacred. 
For instance, should two clans go to war, the 
inferior members on both sides might be killed, 
but no one would think of killing either Rajah. 
It was on this account that the Kookies were so 
incensed at one of their Rajahs having been killed 
by the Nimzae Nagahs in August, 1850. The very 
night the Rajah died they assembled their forces 
from all quarters^ to the number of 300 or 350 
fighting men, and on the following morning moved 
to the attack of Nimzae. The Nagahs, though war- 
like and prepared to repel them, were terrified at 
the approach of such an overwhelming body and 
fled in haste from the village, and the Kookies 
followed them up, overtook and killed their Gong 
Boorah, the others only saving themselves by 
flight." 

The Kookies have some strange customs^ one 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 



93 



being" that of smoke-drying* the dead bodies of the 
Rajahs. After the death of a Rajah his body is kept 
in this state for two months before burial^ in order 
that his family and clan may still have the satis- 
faction of having" him before them. He is then 
interred with grand honours, cows and pig"s being" 
killed to feast the whole clan, and pieces of their 
flesh sent to distant villag-es. The heads of the 
animals killed at his burial are placed on larg"e 
posts of wood over his g"rave. His son, however 
young", is then elected Rajah, and looked up to 
with an almost superstitious respect. Should a 
Rajah fall in battle by any chance, they imme- 
diately proceed on a war expedition, kill and bring- 
in the head of some individual, hold feasting"s and 
dancing"s, and then, after cutting- the head into 
pieces, send a portion to each villag*e of the clan. 
This was done on the murder of the Kookie Rajah 
by the Nimzae Nagahs. A party set out on a war 
expedition and brought in a head from some Nag-ah 
village tributary to Minupoor, and performed the 
ceremonies above described. This is considered in 
the light of sacrifice to appease the manes of the 
deceased chief. 

The tusks of all elephants killed by hunting-- 
parties are the property of the Rajah to whose 



94 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



villag-e the successful hunters belong*; and as a 
reward the Rajah bestows on them the flesh of 
the slain elephant^ or feasts them with a pig", which 
is considered ample remuneration. 

Should any subject conceal a tusk^ or indeed 
the smallest trifle^ which the Rajah wished for and 
had demanded^ he would immediately be tried by 
the Rajah and Muntrees^ and himself and family 
degraded to perpetual slavery. All the property 
they possess is by simple sufferance of the Rajah. 

Theft among' them is punished in the same way^ 
by condemnation to perpetual slavery. The par- 
ties thus doomed become the property of the 
Rajah^ are compelled to till his lands^ and perform 
every kind of work required. 

The Kookies are inveterate smokers, and even 
children of five years old are seen with a bamboo 
pipe in their mouths. The men smoke pipes, 
either of plain bamboo^ both bowl and stalk, or 
brass bowls ornamented with a bird or some other 
device with a bamboo stalk. The women smoke 

hubblebubble/^ or the tobacco drawn through 
water. This water, when well impregnated with 
tobacco-juice, is put by in a goblet to be drunk 
by the men, who sip a mouthful at a time, retain- 
ing it in their mouths for half and hour and up- 



OCCUPATION. 



95 



wards^ probably for the sake of the bitter narcotic 
it contains. 

The men^ like the Nag*ahs, when not employed in 
cultivating or preparing" their lands, sit basking in 
the sun, and smoking their pipes ; the women, on 
the other hand (here again like the Nagah women), 
are never idle. When not employed in household 
duties, or the cultivation of their fields, they are 
to be seen with their pipes between their teeth, 
smoking hard, and working away at the loom, on 
which they prepare four different kinds of cloths. 
A white cloth with a black border for the men 3 a 
blue dyed cloth, also for the men, of about five feet 
long, both worn wound round the body 5 a striped 
cloth, of about eighteen inches broad, worn as a 
petticoat, reaching from far below the navel to 
half-way down the thigh ; and a thick quilt made 
of pieces of raw cotton woven into a cross woof of 
cotton thread, the same as is mentioned under the 
head of the old Kookies. 

The Kookies cultivate rice and cotton, but in a 
manner quite opposed to the system pursued by 
the Cacharees and Nagahs, the former of whom 
raise three crops of rice from the same land, and 
the latter four. The Kookies raise only one crop, 
and then relinquish the land and cut down new 



96 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



forests of bamboo for the cultivation of the suc- 
ceeding- year. Their rice is of a very superior 
description to any I saw in Northern Cachar, and 
is raised from seed broug-ht from their own coun- 
try and Muneepoor. The crop is not cut till 
November, whereas that of the other Hill tribes 
is cut in Aug-ust and September ; their cotton 
is also very fine. Besides this they g-row to- 
baccOj and all the usual veg-etables met with in 
the hills. 

The men are powerful and hardy^ but turbu- 
lently inclined. Having- been accustomed to war 
in their own country_, they are exceeding-ly well 
suited for soldiers^ and those that have been 
enrolled in the Kookie levy at Silchar have 
turned out well. The Kookies in Northern Cachar 
are most anxious to be enlisted in the Now-Gong* 
militia, a desire that should be g-ratified^ as likely 
to civilize them. They are frug-al in their habits^ 
no man thinking- of taking- a wife until he is able 
to support one, as he has to pay a dowry for her 
in the first instance to her parents^ varying- in 
amount according- to the rank of the g-irl. They 
are also particularly modest and decent^ each man 
living" with his family in a separate house. The 
widows also live in houses of their own (in this 



DRESS. 



97 



respect like the Nag-ahs and Cacharies), built for 
them by the villag'ers. 

The men wear a larg*e cloth, sometimes two, 
wrapped loosely round the body, and hanging" from 
the shoulder to the knee. Underneath this they 
wear nothing-, the whole body being* bare, in which 
they consider there exists no want of modesty, as 
such has been their custom from time immemorial. 
When eng-ag'ed in any occupation, they either 
wrap their cloth round the lower part of the body, 
or twist it round the waist with the ends hanging- 
down in front, the back being* left quite bare. 
They are always to be seen with a belt slung* 
across the shoulder, suspending- at the side either 
a sheath with their dao or hatchet in it, or a 
knitted bag* containing* their pipe, tobacco, and 
tinder-box. The belt, in the case of a poor man, 
is merely a piece of deerskin, about two inches in 
breadth^ in that of a wealthy man, four or five, 
inches broad, decorated with four or five rows of 
cowrie shells. They also wear a kind of iron 
skewer, or, if poor, a porcupine's quill, stuck 
into their back hair_, which is tied together in a 
knot. 

One of their ornaments has a very singular 
appearance. The ear is bored in the fleshy part, 

H 



98 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



and drawn out and stretched over a thick silver 
ring", one of which I found on measurement to be 
five inches and a quarter in circumference, and one 
inch in breadth. Of course it takes time for the ear 
to attain this size ; but they commence at an early 
age by putting* pieces of bamboo and cane into the 
pierced holes, which gradually stretch the skin to 
the required size. A singularly disting^uishing 
mark between the Jangsen and Taddoee clans is, 
that the former have the skin of the ear stretched 
to its utmost extent, while the latter have very 
small holes pierced in the cartilage. 

The women wear a short striped petticoat, 
reaching from the upper part of the stomach half 
way down to the knee. Married women have 
their breasts bare, but all virgins are covered, 
wearing a similar cloth to the petticoat wound 
round the bosom underneath the armpits. They 
wear their hair prettily plaited at the back, the two 
ends being brought round in front and tied just 
above the forehead in the form of a coronet. Like 
all hill people, the Kookies are most dirty in their 
habits, very seldom washing their bodies, which 
are covered with dirt and smoke. Probably this dis- 
inclination to perform necessary ablutions, among 
all hill tribes, may be accounted for by the water 



REVENUE. 



09 



near a hill villag-e being- g-enerally very scarce^ and 
also by the coldness of the climate. 

The Eajahs of the New Kookie clans annually 
collect at the end of the harvest a pi^ and two 
maunds of dhan (paddy)^ or an estimated value of 
three rupees from each house^ besides other collec- 
tions made on extraordinary occasions^ and all 
the elephants' tusks broug*ht in throug'hout the 
3^ear by the hunters from their villag-es. They 
have hitherto presented only one elephant's tusk 
annually to Government; this year four tusks and 
seventy rupees in cash were collected from them^ 
and they are assessed for the future at one rupee 
a house, an arrang-ement which I understand finds 
g-reat favour among- the Ryots, as they hope 
their Eajahs will be content with Government 
commission, and relieve them from their former 
exactions. 

The sites of the Kookie villag-es are well chosen 
on the broadest parts of the highest ridg-es, with 
water near at hand, g-enerally a small hill stream. 
Some of the chief villag"es contain as many as 200 
houses, commodiously built on platforms raised 
between three and four feet from the g-round. 
Every part of the house is formed of bamboo, 
there being- but few trees of any kind, and little 

H 2 



100 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



or no grass in Northern Cachar, as the character 
of the whole country is a dense forest of bamboo. 
The posts of the houses are bamboos, driven deep 
into the g-round ; the walls are formed of split 
bamboos^ of which the platform is also made, and 
the thatch is composed of bamboo leaves neatly 
put on. For g-r eater security against the in- 
clemency of the weather, an outer covering* of 
split bamboos fastened tog-ether is occasionally laid 
over the thatch. The house is divided into two 
rooms of a tolerable size. 

The houses of the poorer members being* so 
goodj it may be supposed that the Rajah has a 
fine building" for himself ; it may indeed be called 
a palace, being* of great leng-th, height, and 
breadth (I have seen some upwards of 100 feet 
in length) built with large posts, and thatched 
with grass, or grass and bamboo leaves inter- 
mingled. It is raised four feet from the ground, 
and is very neat inside, having a long room in the 
centre for the use of the Rajah, with small rooms 
on either side partitioned off for the slaves, who 
cook and perform other menial offices. No ani- 
mals, with the exception of dogs, are kept within 
the house, which stands in a large courtyard, 
and, in addition to the usual stockading round the 



VILLAGES. 



101 



villag*e, is^ in the case of the chief Rajah of the 
clan^ surrounded with a double palisade for his 
g-reater protection. The minor Bajahs have a 
sing'le palisade round their houses. 



102 



TEAVELS l]y ASSAM. 



CHAPTEE VII. 

Expeditions against the Angahmee Nagahs — First expedition from 
Muneepoor — Second ditto — First expedition from Now- Gong — 
Second, third, fourth, and fifth Expeditions from Now- Gong. 

The country occupied by the Ang-ahmee Nag*ahs^ 
south of Now-Gong-^ is bounded on the north by 
the Dhunseeree river^ on the south by a hig-h rang'e 
of mountains^ forming- the boundary between the 
Muneepoor territory and Now-Gong-^ Poplong-maee 
being* the most southern Ang-ahmee Nag-ah villagfe 
within the district. The western boundary extends 
as far as Hosang Hajoo. The limit of the eastern 
boundary is still undefined and unexplored; but 
the Deeyong- river on the north-east separates the 
Lotah Nag-ahs in the Seebsag"hur district from the 
Ang-ahmee Nag-ahs. 

The first time the Angahmee Nag-ah country was 
ever visited by Europeans was in January 1832, 
when Captains Jenkins and Pemberton^ with a 
party of 700 soldiers^ and 800 Coolies^ or porters, 



FlllST EXPEDITION. 



103 



to carry their bag-g-ag-e and provisions, marched 
from Muneepoor in progress to Assam. The route 
pursued was via Seng-mie, Miieeyang-khang*, Mu- 
ramkhunao, Mohee Long*, Yang-, Poplong-maee, 
Tireea-mah, Sumokhooting*, Dhunseeree river, 
Mohung" Dehooa and Eamsah, which latter place 
they reached about the 23rd of January 1832. 
The whole party suffered much from the want 
of provisions, and, in consequence, were obliged 
eventually to march the whole day through a heavy 
dark forest, until they arrived at Dehooa, where 
their wants were supplied. The party were opposed 
in their progress from Yang to Poplongmaee by 
the Angahmee Nagahs, and having no idea of the 
effect of fire-arms, their resistance was most de- 
termined. They rolled down stones from the 
summit of the hills, threw spears, and did their 
utmost by yelling and intimidation to obstruct 
the advance of the force, but all in vain. The 
village of Poplongmaee, consisting of 300 or 
400 houses, was occupied by the troops, and a 
constant firing of musketry was necessary to keep 
the Angahmee Nagahs at a distance. A stockade 
was taken at the point of the bayonet, and the 
village was burned, in which some lives wei'e lost 
and many persons were wounded. Cunning, trea- 



104 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM, 



cherous, vindictive, and warlike, the Angahmee 
Nagahs had hitherto never encountered a foe equal 
to contend with them, and in utter ignorance of 
the effect of fire-arms, they vainly imagined that 
no party could penetrate through their territory. 
Luckily, the force was well supplied with ammu- 
nition, and overcame all opposition. 

In the cold season of 1S'3S, Lieutenant Gordon 
conducted the second expedition into the Angahmee 
Nagah hills, twenty-five miles to the east of the 
route pursued by Captain Jenkins. He was 
accompanied b}^ the late Rajah Gumbhur Sing 
with a force sufficient (Captain Pemberton remarks 
in his report on the eastern frontier) to overcome 
all opposition ; but a powerful coalition was entered 
into by all the Hill tribes to arrest his progress, 
and ultimate success was entirely owing to his 
fire-arms. 

Northern Cachar having been annexed to the 
Zillah of Now-Gong, on the 5th January 1839, 
Mr. Grange, Sub-Assistant to the Commissioner, 
was entrusted with a detachment of the 1st Sebun- 
dies, the present 2nd Assam Light Infantry, fifty 
men of the Cachar levy, and a party of Shan 
Police Militia, to proceed to the Angahmee country, 
and endeavour to repress the yearly incursions of 



MR. grange's first EXPEDITION. 105 



the Angahmee Nag-ahs into Cachar for plunder and 
slaves. He reached the stockaded Thannah at 
Goomogoojee in Northern Cachar, on the 11th 
January^ and not receiving* any instructions from 
the Superintendent»of Cachar, he deemed it neces- 
sary to pay that officer a visit^ and set out on the 
13th, and reached Silchar on the 16th. Return- 
ing" thence to the Goomog^oojee Thannah, he was 
occupied till the 26th January in collecting* pro- 
visions, and Coolies to carry them, before his force 
could commence the march to the Angahmee coun- 
try. His route then lay via Semkur, Beereh-mah, 
Balookhi-mah, Muhye, Tireeah-mah to Tokojinah- 
mah, thence to Cheereh-mah, Rojapo-mah, Sumo- 
khoo-ting*, and Mohung* Deehoa, which place he 
reached on the 15th March. The Shans were then 
located at Mohung* Deehoa. The levy returned 
to Cachar, and the Sebundy detachments to 
Gowahattee. 

Throug-hout the journey the party was badly 
provided with provisions, and had but few Coolies to 
convey their bag-gage and food, and even those were 
perpetually absconding*. As they were harassed 
and jaded by daily long* marches, and exposed 
to much wet weather, besides frequent attempts of 
the Nagahs to attack the camp at nig*ht, it is 



106 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



surprising" that the expedition terminated without 
further disaster than one or two Coolies having 
been speared by the enemy. 

On the 3rd December, 1839, Mr. Grange was 
again deputed to visit the Angahmee Nagahs. He 
set out with the Shan detachment from Dheemahpoor 
to Sumokhoo-ting' on the 21st December, leaving 
the Jorchath Militia to follow thence, when sup- 
plied with Coolies. On approaching the village 
of Sumokhoo-ting', as was anticipated, the Nagahs 
were not amicably disposed towards the detach- 
ment, and assembled with their spears ; but a little 
persuasion induced them to put aside their wea- 
pons, and to erect huts for the party. At night, 
however, they endeavoured to spear the sentries, 
and broke off all communication, stating that their 
spears were their Rajahs'. This conduct admitting 
no excuse, their grain was forthwith seized, and 
a stockade built, independent of the village. The 
Jorchath Militia having arrived, they were placed 
in charge of the stockades containing the grain, and 
Mr. Grange set out on an excursion on the 2nd 
February to Rojapo-mah. 

Descending the Sumokhoo-ting hill to the south- 
east, he went up the stony bed of the Deeboo river, 
till he arrived opposite the low range of hills on 



MR. grange's second EXPEDITION. 107 



which Rojapo-mah is situated. Here the Nagahs 
had assembled to obstruct his prog'ress ; but the 
chiefj Karebee^ having* been induced to come into 
camp^ a friendly intercourse ensued. 

On the 3rd February the party reached Tireeah- 
mah ; here they were^ as on the first tour^ treated 
with civility by the people. On the 4th they 
ascended the g-reat southern rang-e of mountains, 
6^000 feet hig-h^ by the path taken by Captain 
Jenkins in his route across the hills from Munee- 
poor in 1832. The ascent was extremely steep 
and harassing", and the whole party did not reach 
the small river below the villag'e of Poplong-maee^ 
or Kono-mah, till three p. m. 

The next day the party encamped on the banks 
of the Tobool river in the same fences occupied 
a few days before by the Muneepoor troops. Pro- 
ceeding* up the rocky bed of the Tobool river a 
short distance on the 6th, towards the rocky ridg"e 
on which Yang- is situated, all the Nag-ahs of that 
villag'e assembled, and would not for a long- time 
come down and show the way to the g-round on 
which the Muneepoor troops had encamped. At 
last, after much persuasion, three men were in- 
duced to point out the route j but, having- gone a 
short distance, they set up their hideous war- 



108 TEAVELS IN ASSAM. 

howl and rushed down a precipice. This act of 
treachery brought on them several shots from the 
Sipahees^ who^ after considerable difiiculty, at 
length gained the encamping ground occupied by 
Captain Jenkins in 1832^ between Yang and 
Moelong. 

The country here is extremely rugged and re- 
pulsive in appearance, being composed of high 
rocky ranges, with but little flat ground at their 
bases. The sides of the ridges are covered with 
low bushes and small patches of grass, and a few 
scattered stunted firs. During the whole of the 
night the Nagahs were very troublesome. They set 
fire to the grass in all directions ; and though the 
Moelong Nagahs had joined those of Yang, the 
ground being well pangied, that is, studded with 
sharp wooden spikes, no night attack was at- 
tempted. Having advanced thus far, and seeing 
no prospect of meeting the Muneepoor force, Mr. 
Grange commenced on the 7th Febmary to re- 
trace his steps to Poplongmaee. He had hardly 
reached the footpath, which runs along the side 
of the Yang range, when the crash of boulders 
and stones made him aware of the treacherous 
attack of the Yang villagers. 

His party luckily divided into two divisions 



MR. grange's second EXPEDITION. 109 



without confusion^ and thus escaped utter annihi- 
lation from the rolling* stones. The rear joined 
the rest without accident, as soon as a diversion 
was made in their favour, by establishing- on a 
knoll of the range a party who, by keeping- up a 
brisk fire on the enemy, succeeded partially in 
checking- them in rolling- down stones ; and in the 
interval the rear took advantag-e of the cessation, 
and extricated themselves from their perilous 
position in a frig-htfully narrow and difficult pass. 
The Nag-ahs, however, having- assembled in con- 
siderable numbers, the party were necessitated to 
cross over to the opposite rang*e, to avoid return- 
ing- beneath steep declivities exposed to the rolling- 
stones of the enemy without being- able to return 
their fire. 

After gaining* the opposite rang-e in safety, in 
spite of the jungle being- set on fire in the rear of 
the retreating- part}', Mr. Grang-e reached the road 
on which he had advanced from Poplongmaee, 
and encamped on his former g-round in the bed of 
the Tobool river ; but their fences had all been 
destroyed, and they were much impeded in their 
movements by the g-round in every direction being* 
studded with pangies. 

On the 8th, still continuing- to retreat towards 



110 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



the heights of Poplong-maee^ and anticipating- 
the intentions of the Nag-ahs to roll down stones 
on the party as they passed beneath^ Mr. Grang-e 
took a party of forty men and dislodg-ed the enemy 
from their breastworks; after which^ joining* the 
rear-g-uard with the bag-g-ag-e^ he drove the enemy 
before him^ and took possession of the villag^e of 
Poplong'maee^ a portion of which had been burned 
by the Muneepoor troops^ who had just left that 
part of the country. For the recovery of the sick^ 
and of those wounded by the pang-ies^ Mr. Grange 
was obliged to remain in the village of Pop- 
longmaee four days, and on the 13th continued 
his retreat towards Sumokhoo-ting. The enemy 
appear to have been humbled by this visit; for, 
on Mr. Grange's departure, they said they were 
afraid to return to their village as long- as he 
remained, but on a future occasion they would 
not oppose him, as they desired peace ; for three 
Nagahs had been killed, and several badly wounded. 

Owing to the sick and wounded, the retreat 
from Poplongmaee to the Deeboo river was 
fatiguing, occupying from nine A. M. till dusk of 
evening ; but no attempt whatever was made by 
the enemy to molest the party as they retired via 
Tireeah-mah, Rojapo-mah, to Sumokhoo-ting, 



MR. grange's third EXPEDITION. 



Ill 



which place they reached on the 15th February. 
The sick were placed in the stockade, on the summit 
of the Sumokhoo-ting- hill, and being" joined by some 
of the Jorchath Militia, Mr. Grang-e again set 
out on the 18th February to accomplish a meet- 
ing" wdth some lawless Angahmee Nag-ahs further 
eastward. 

The first day he encamped at Mijeepeh-mah, and 
the next at Pripheh-mah, w here a Coolie g-oing* for 
water was wounded by the Nag*ahs. Leaving* Pri- 
pheh-mah on the 20th, before passing throug"h a 
track of grass jungle, Mr. Grange took the pre- 
caution to halt and set fire to the jungle, and 
clear the path of pangies. In the interval, four 
Nagahs made their appearance in the rear, evidently 
to set fire to the grass previously to an attack in 
front. Instead of returning or meeting the party 
in a friendly manner, they assumed their usual 
war attitude of defiance, and commenced jumping 
about and spinning their spears. This conduct 
immediately brought the fire of the Sipahees upon 
them, when one Nagah was killed, and another, 
though severely wounded, effected his escape by 
rolling down a precipice. The path being strewed 
Avith pangies, these had to be removed before the 
party couhl advance and form their fenced camp. 



112 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



about four miles in advance of Pripheh-mah^ on 
the banks of a small stream. In the evening-, 
beacons or lig-hts, as sig-nals, were observed in 
all directions on the high hills, the number of 
lights at each station signifying* that the party 
was halting, advancing*, or returning*. 

The prog-ress of the party on the 21st was very 
slow, in consequence of the number of pang*ies 
required to be removed from the path ; and 
althoug"h the distance was only five miles, the 
encamping* g-round at Jappeh-mah was not reached 
till three p.m. The Nag-ahs deferred their attack 
on the party till within a mile of the village, at 
a rocky part of the hill, when five or six men 
sprang out of the leading* files and threw their 
spears, and before the Sipahees had time to fire 
they rushed down the precipice. Several men of 
the guard were struck by the spears; but their 
clothes being tied on loosely they escaped un- 
injured. The enemy had erected an embankment, 
which they deserted, on a flank movement being 
made to attack. The village was carried without 
much opposition, although the entrance was very 
strong. The passage was through a narrow lane 
with a stone wall on each side, and a single plank 
of considerable thickness formed the door. The 



MR. grange's third exfedition. 113 



villag-ers did not again show themselves till night, 
when they pelted stones at the party from an 
adjoining hig-h piece of ground, concealing them- 
selves behind stone walls. 

The next day, after searching* for the well some 
distance from the village, when the whole party 
had partaken of the water they experienced very 
unpleasant effects, being afflicted with a dizzi- 
ness and heaviness of the upper eyelids which 
made it difficult to keep them open. On examin- 
ing the well or reservoir, it appeared that the 
enemy had bruised and steeped a poisonous root 
in the water. The Nagah prisoners said, that 
while the root was fresh its effects were what 
had been experienced; but, if allowed to rot, 
it would kill all who partook of it in three or four 
da3^s. 

Jappeh-mah is an old village of 300 or 400 
houses ; and at this period the inhabitants oppressed 
and plundered all the small weak neighbouring 
villages. The Nagahs of Jappeh-mah were fully 
prepared for the visit ; they had hidden their grain 
in pits and crevices of rocks in the jungles, and had 
even taken off the grass roofs from their houses to 
prevent them being burned. The party remained 
here, safely stockaded in the village six days, and 

I 



114 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



destroyed all the grain, houses^ planks, stools, and 
everything" they could meet with; but still the 
Nagahs refused to come in and submit to our 
authority. A lesson, however, was taug-ht them ; 
the time had now arrived when they could no 
long-er attack defenceless communities with impu- 
nity, or without being- attacked in return, and 
utterly defeated. Hitherto, confiding* in their 
remote, inaccessible position, their insolence was so 
g-reat as to imagine that there was no power suffi- 
cientl}^ strong* to repress their marauding raids. 

After much difficulty in providing for the con- 
veyance of the sick, Mr. Grange commenced on 
the 27th February to retrace his steps to Sumo- 
khoo-ting. On passing through Mijeepeh-mah, he 
learned that three men had been killed and several 
wounded in the encounter at J appeh-mah , and as 
they did not attempt to obstruct or molest the 
party in this retreat, the success of the expedition 
was complete. 

On reaching Sumokhoo-ting on the 29th Feb., 
Mr. Grange found that, through the carelessness 
of a Sipahee, his grain godown had been burned 
down, and the Nagahs of Sumokhoo-ting assuming 
a threatening attitude, by spinning their spears and 
showing other signs of hostility, it became neces- 



LIEUT. BIGGE'S expedition. 115 



sary on the 1st March to capture a few prisoners 
as hostag-es for the g*ood hehaviour of the village. 

On the following' day the whole party encamped 
at Dheemahpoor^ on the Dhunseeree river^ distant 
from Sumokhoo-ting- thirteen miles. Here, in 
one of the densest forests of Assam, the Shan 
Police Militia were permanently located in a 
stockade, for the protection of the frontier through- 
out the year from the marauding- inroads of the 
Ang'ahmee Nag-ahs. Thus terminated the second 
military expedition from Now-Gong" ag-ainst the 
Anofahmee Nao-ahs. A few months after, the nine 
prisoners captured at Sumokhoo-ting*, and taken to 
Now-Gong', were permitted to return to their hills, 
after having- sworn to keep the peace, and pledged 
themselves to remain in future in entire obedience 
to the British Government. 

On the 26th November, 1840, Lieutenant Bigg-e, 
Principal Assistant to the Ag-ent of the Governor- 
General, left Now-Gong to make a tour through 
the Angahmee hills. He entered the hills on the 
22nd January, 1841, with a detachment of the 
Ist Assam Light Infantry. On his arrival at 
Sumokhoo-ting, the Nagahs deserted the village ; 
but in a few days, having restored confidence, and 
placed his provisions in charge of a guard, he 

I 8 



110 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



was enabled to set out on the 27th January, 
and visited the following* villages : — Mijeepeh-mah, 
Pripheh-mah, Geeroopheh-mah, Sassah-mah, Mo- 
zo-mah, and Kono-mah. Thence he proceeded 
across the southern range to Poplong-maee, and 
turning" northward returned to Sumokhoo-ting' vid 
Tireeah-mah and Rojapo-mah on the 9th February. 
His route then lay throug"h Rojapo-mah, Chah- 
mah, Lehah-mah, Jalookeh-mah, Balookeh-mah, 
Semkur, on to Hosang* Hajoo in Northern Cachar; 
which place he reached on the 22nd February, 
having-, for the first time, traversed the country 
without meeting" any opposition. 

To arrang-e the boundary between the Now- 
Gong" district and the Muneepoor state. Lieutenant 
Big-g-e proceeded on the 24th November, 1841, 
vid Northern Cachar to Silchar, and thence to 
Muneepoor. On the 2nd January, 1842, he sent in a 
joint report with Captain Gordon, Political Ag"ent 
at Muneepoor, in which he established the summit of 
the hig-h range of mountains as the proper boun- 
dary line. Returning to Now-Gong on the 29th 
January, Lieutenant Bigge set out for Dheemah- 
poor on the 8th February, where he was met by a 
detachment of the Assam Light Infantry, and 
advanced as far as Rojapo-mah. Till the 10th 



INCURSIONS OF THE HILL TRIBES. 



117 



March he was busily occupied in a fruitless en- 
deavour to cut open a road along- the banks of the 
Deeboo river^ east of Sumokhoo-ting*. The rainy 
season^ however, setting* in, he was obliged to 
desist from the attempt and return to Now-Gong*. 

No expedition was sent into the Ang-ahmeeNag-ah 
country in 1843, and the tribes continued their 
annual predatory and murderous raids as usual. 
In 1843 they made two inroads, killing- four per- 
sons each time, and carried off a considerable 
quantity of propert3\ In 1854, two incursions were 
made into the Reng-mah Nag-ah hills ; three persons 
were killed in the first foray and six in the second, 
and on both occasions the people were plundered 
of their property. Although eighty-nine persons 
were concerned in both attacks, from the difficult 
nature of the country, not a single individual was 
ever captured, the whole party having- retreated 
to their hills as soon as they had committed these 
depredations. Becoming- still bolder, and finding- 
that a g-uard of one Naick and four Shan Police 
Militia Sipahees, detached from the stockade at 
Hosang Hajoo for the protection of the small vil- 
lage of Lunkye in Northern Cachar, obstructed, 
or was a check on their maraudinof incursions, 
they treacherously surprised the little party at 



118 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



nighty on the third October^ 1844, and killed three 
Shan Sipahees and a boy; one Sipahee alone 
escaping- with a wound to Hosang- Hajoo, to tell 
the fate of his companions. 

In consequence of the frequent audacious raids of 
these freebooters^ Captain Eld^ Principal Assistant, 
accompanied by Mr. Sub-Assistant Wood, and a 
detachment of fifty men of the 2nd Assam Lig*ht 
Infantry^ set out from JN^ow-Gong* on the 10th 
December^ 1844^ with the express object of cap- 
turing* the murderers of Sipahees at Lunkye. On 
arriving- at Hosang- Hajoo, Captain Eld learned 
that the Nag-ahs of the villag-e of Assaloo were 
apparently implicated in the attack made on the 
small g-uard at Lunkye^ throug-h having- afforded 
shelter in their villag-e to the Ang-ahmee Nag-ahs, 
even if they did not join in the attack. Mr. 
Wood was according-ly directed to visit the villag-e. 
On his approach^ however, whether from fear or a 
sense of their g-uilt, they took to immediate flig*ht, 
and their villag-e was in consequence burned. Pro- 
ceeding- thence eastward^ they reached Beereh-mah^ 
and a portion of the villag-ers being- implicated in 
the late treacherous massacre at Lunkye^ and 
having- absconded^ their huts also were burned to 
the ground. Captain Eld then returned^ vid Dhee- 



CAPTAIN ELD^S EXPEDITION. 119 

malipoor, to Now-Gong* on the 10th January 1845, 
and deputed Mr. Wood to visit the villag-es of 
Mozo-niah and Kono-mah from Dheemahpoor, 
with the Assam Lig'ht Infantry detachment. He 
went up the bed of the Deeboo river to Cheereh-. 
mah, thence to Tokojinah-mah^ Mozo-mah^ and 
Kono-mah. Mr. Wood demanded of the village 
of Kono-mah the immediate surrender of the 
Nag-ahs^ who had killed the Shan Sipahees at 
Lunkye. After considerable parley they restored 
the four muskets which they had carried off from 
Lunkye^ but would not listen to the demand of de- 
livering- up the culprits ; and as they appeared to 
pride themselves on their prowess and g'lory in 
their successful raids, there was no alternative but 
to undeceive them, and convince them of their in- 
ability to persevere in these practices with impunity. 

With g-reat promptitude^ Mr. Wood immediately 
advanced with his detachment towards the villag*e 
of Kono-mah ; the inhabitants instantly lost courag-e 
on the approach of the troops, and fled with pre- 
cipitation to the jung-les, and part of the villag-e 
was in consequence reduced to ashes. 

Such was the result of the fifth expedition. A 
barbarous, unprovoked massacre of three Shan 
Sepoys had been committed. Conciliatory mea- 



120 



TBAVELS IN ASSAM. 



sures were first tried for the apprehension of the 
delinquents without avail, and then the destruction 
of three of the enemies' villag'es ensued with as 
little effect. In this predicament it fell to my lot 
to succeed to the manag*ement of this state of 
affairs. Before, however, I proceed further on my 
journey into the Ang-ahmee hills, I may here ^ive 
some account of the Reng-mah Nag-ahs and Mee- 
kirs, v^hose hills we have skirted on our way to 
Dheemahpoor, and with whom we have held con- 
stant communication. 



THE RENGMAH NAGAHS. 181 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The Rengmah Nagahs — Revenue settlement — Manners and customs 
— Meekirs — Mode of assessment— Revenue settlements — Religion 
and customs of the Meekirs. 

Although the plains of the district of Now- 
GoTig" have been under a revenue assessment since 
the conquest in 1824-25, we have been slow in 
making" much prog'ress towards subjug-ating' the 
Hill tribes, or acquiring- information reg-arding- 
them. In 1839 Mr. Grang-e, Sub- Assistant Com- 
missioner, seems to have been the first European 
officer, who met the Rengmah Nag-ahs in the 
vicinity of Mohung* Dehooa, on his way to the 
Ang-ahmee Hills. Subsequently, scarcely a year has 
passed without the officer in charg-e of the district 
having had communication with them ; but no 
revenue settlement was ever made with them, or 
written agreement taken from them to pay re- 
venue, till February 1847, when Captain Butler, 
Principal Assistant, induced several of the most 



122 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



influential Chiefs to visit Now-Gong-^ on which 
occasion they readily assented to be taxed at one 
rupee per house^ and g'ave him a written agreement 
to that effect. 

This measure being* approved by the A^ent to 
the Governor-General^ Mr. Sub- Assistant Masters 
was deputed in December 1847^ to enter the 
Reng-mah hills from Golag'haut ; but, after visiting- 
many villag-es^ that gentleman found the country 
so heavy and impassable from the dense wet jun- 
g'les^ that he was constrained to return to the 
plains at Kageerung-a. He ag-ain met with the 
E-eng-mah Nag-ahs on his route over the Meekir 
hills vid Bannenee^ Sildhampoor, on to Mohung- 
Dehooa; when the first revenue settlement with all 
the Reng-mah Nag*ah villag'es discovered — thirty- 
two in number. — was successfully accomplished. 



FIRST REVENUE SETTLEMENT. 



123 



First Revenue Settlement concluded with the Rengmah Nagahs of 
Zlllah Now-Gong, Assam, fob Two Yeaks, from 1255 to 1364, b. s. 
— February, 1848, a d. 



Names of 
Villages. 



10 



15 



•20 



25 



30 



Yangkoo .... 
Noiibasong. . . 
Bahaiiriiig . . . 

Migaloo 

Tellamahah . . 
Chehong .... 

Behong 

Dengapah. . . . 
Ta Goolie . . . 
Thillasomah 
Giyang .... 

Nahor 

Old Korroo . . 
Xew Korroo . . 
Kahung .... 
Kologong . . . 
Koomaree. . . 
Old Hillee . . 
Old Athong . 
New Athong 
New Hillee . 
Gadangarah . 
Kamargong . 
Khasaug . . . 
IMissang .... 
New Boghoree 
Dalloro. ... 

Beling 

Bethar 

3rd Hillee... 
Rummoo . . . 
Old Missang 



Names of Chiefs. 



Yaiigkoo Phookim .... 
Umbasong Gounborah . 

Soreijoo do. do 

Migaloo do. do 

Kampee do. do 

Chengoo Phookun .... 
Behong Gounborah.... 
Chengoo Phookun .... 
Luggoosung Gounborah 

Kootooka .... 

Guduiing 

Suntang 

Kantang 

Karroo Phookun 

Kahung do 

Nizing Kola 

Surizing SathtoUah .... 

Kedemba 

Serizing 

Tezebe Phookun 

Late Chocta, deceased . . 
Lungzookem Gounborah 

Nissebe do. do 

Sankora, 1st 

Sankora, 2nd 

Tezeroo 

Dalloo 

Khehung . . , . , .... 

Bessalloo 

Hembeh ...... . . . , 

Merika 

Pupeka 



Number of Houses. 


Gross 
Assessment. 


Deduct 
Commission 
at 12i. 8d. 
per cent. 


Net 
Revenue. 






as. p. 


IS 


as. 


n 
V- 


rs. 


as. p. 


29 


25 








3 


2 





21 


14 


16 


13 








1 


10 





11 


6 


15 


12 





1 


8 





10 


8 


22 


15 








1 


14 





13 


2 


34 


25 





3 


2 





21 


14 


35 


27 








3 


6 





23 


10 


17 


12 








1 


8 





10 


8 


25 


18 








2 


4 





15 


12 


33 


25 








3 


2 





21 


14 


21 


15 








1 


14 





13 


2 


10 


5 











10 





4 


6 


20 


17 








2 


2 





14 


14 


14 


9 








1 


2 





7 


14 


12 


9 








1 


2 





7 


14 


21 


16 








2 








14 





24 










9 


4 







ion 


24 


20 








2 


8 





17 


8 


21 


16 








2 








14 





32 


17 








2 


2 





14 


14 


15 


15 








1 


14 





13 


2 


7 


7 








14 





6 


2 


13 


10 








1 


4 





8 


12 


16 


11 





1 


6 





9 


10 


53 


41 








5 


2 





35 


14 


20 


17 








2 


2 





14 


14 


27 


19 








2 


6 





16 


10 


19 


17 








2 


2 





14 


14 


42 


34 








4 


4 





29 


12 


10 


9 








1 


2 





7 


14 


16 


13 








1 


10 





11 


6 


12 


8 





1 








7 





14 


10 








1 


4 





8 


12 


689 


525 








65 


10 


459 


6 



Remarks. — The first twelve Chiefs will pay their revenue into the Collector's 
Treasury at Now-Gong ; the remaining Chiefs will pay their revenue into the 
Treasury at Golaghaut. 

Kate of assessment one rupee per house, excepting old men, women, and 
widows. 



124 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



From the preceding* Table^ it appears^ that thirty- 
two villag-es contained 689 houses which^ at four 
persons to each house^ would give a population of 
2^756 persons. The Eeng-mah Nag-ahs are evi- 
dently descended from the AngahmeelSTag-ahs; and it 
is said that, in consequence of oppression and feuds 
in their own tribe, they emigrated to the hig*h hills 
occupied by the Tokophen Nag*ahs ; but further dis- 
sensions and attacks from the Lotah and Ang-ahmee 
Nagahs compelled them to take refuge on their 
present low hills in the vicinity of the Meekirs. 

At the present day the Rengmah Nagahs appear 
degenerating*. In physiognomy they differ but 
little from the Cacharee tribes, and many have mar- 
ried Cacharee and Assamese wives. The villages 
are small, and they have but few domestic animals ; 
among these the principal are some cows of the 
hill breed, pigs, and fowls. They procure brass 
ornaments from the village of Gesenge, and spears 
from the Angahmee Nagahs. A considerable quan- 
tity of cotton is grown in their hills, besides rice, 
which they barter for salt, hand-bills, beads and 
hoes, to petty hawkers, who proceed up the river 
Jummoona with small supplies from Now-Gong, 
and sadly impose on these uncivilized tribes in 
their dealings with them, both in price and weight. 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 



125 



Like other Hill tribes^ they acknowledge the 
power of a plurality of g^ods; and sacrifices of cows^ 
pig's^ and fowls, are offered on all occasions. Mar- 
riag-e is reg-arded merely as a civil contract^ and 
no religious ceremonies are performed. According* 
to the means of the brideg-room^ fowls^ dog-s^ and 
spirits^ are given as a present to the parents of the 
damsel selected, and her consent being- obtained, 
as well as that of her parents (for she has a rig-ht 
to refuse), a g-rand feast is g-iven by the brideg-room 
on the day of his marriag-e to the whole villag-e. 
In return, the}^ are oblig-ed to present the newly- 
married couple with a new house in the villag-e. 

All offences of a trivial nature are settled by a 
council of elders of the villag-e, who impose fines on 
the culprits. The Eengmah Nag-ahs, like the An- 
g-ahmee Nag-ahs, inter their dead, and place the 
spear and shield of the deceased in the grave ; a 
few sticks with some eg-gs and grain are laid 
upon it, and the funeral ceremonies conclude with 
lamentations and feasting. 



126 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



MEEKIRS. 

The tract of country situated in the Now-Gong- 
district^ called the Meekir Hills^ extends from the 
Kuleanee river east to the Jummoonah river west of 
Dubboka^ about sixty miles in leng-th^ or seven 
days' journey. On the north^ the Meekir hills are 
bounded by the plains of the Meekirpar Mehal, 
the Mong-ahs of E-ung-obegur^ Kag-eerung-a^ and 
Bokakhat. From north to south, to the Jum- 
moonah river^ the distance in a straig'ht line may be 
thirty-five or forty miles. The Meekir villag-es and 
cultivation extend eastward only as far as the 
Kuleanee river in Morung\ Beyond that river 
the Reng-mah boundary commences, and terminates 
with the Dhunseeree river, separating- Now-Gong 
from the Seebsaofhur district. 

The Meekirs g'enerally inhabit the interior por- 
tion of the hills ; but a majority of their villag-es 
are within a day's journey of the plains. Accord- 
ing- to the tradition of the tribes, they were orig*i- 
nally settled in Tooleeram Senaputtee's territor}-, 
under petty chiefs of their own selection. Some 
years ag-o, they were conquered by a Eajah of 
Cachar, from whose oppression the}^ were driven 



MODE OF ASSESSMENT. 



127 



to take refug'e in Jynteea. Meeting' there with 
the same treatment, some emig-rated to Deemoroo, 
Beeltollah, and Eanee in the district of Kamroop ; 
the remainder took up their present abode in the 
locality described above. In this position, how- 
ever, having- the plains of Assam on the north, a 
portion of Cachar on the south, and being* only 
separated from Jynteea by a space of thirty miles 
of low lands, the Meekirs were subjected to con- 
tinual demands from these neig'hbouring- states. 
Their chief reliance, however, was on the Eajah of 
Assam, who appointed their principal chief over 
the whole clan, and collected a tribute from them 
in kind, valued at about 338 rupees per annum. 
The articles given were : — 

300 bundles of cotton 300 rupees. 

300 bamboo mats 10 „ 

300 bundles of nalooka, the bark 

of a tree used as a perfume .16 „ 

300 Sanchee pat, the bark of a 
tree, used formerly and even to 
this day, as paper to write on 12 „ 

Rupees . , . 338 
No reg^ular revenue was paid to the Cachar and 
Jynteea states ; whatever was exacted in kind or 



12S 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



corn was more in the shape of black mail; and, 
from all we can learn at the present day, the 
ag-greg-ate amount realized by both states may 
be estimated at about half the sum paid to the 
Rajah of Assam, or the annual sum levied b}'^ the 
states from the whole tribe, did not, probabl}^, 
exceed in value 500 rupees. 

In consideration of submitting* to pay tribute to 
the Eajah of Assam, a strip of land, called Meekir- 
pah Mehal, at the foot of the Meekir hills, was 
g'ranted to the Meekirs under the Khelwaree 
system, for 461 rupees 8 annas 11 pice. On the 
death of the Meekir Chief, Kan Burrah, in 1840, 
and the abolition of the Khelwaree, and introduc- 
tion of the Mongahwaree, system in 1241 b. s., 
or 1835-36 a. d., the revenue amounted to 
5,002 rupees 7 annas 10 pice. On the chang-e of 
system at that period, the Mehal of Meekirpah 
being" divided into nine Mong'ahs, ceased to be 
manag'ed by the Meekirs. Four beels or lakes 
had been granted to the Meekirs rent free by the 
Rajah of Assam, but no sunnud, or deed of g"ift, 
has ever been produced. The revenue derived from 
these lakes was as follows : — 



REVENUE SETTLEMENTS. 



129 



1 Moree Kullung- ..... J 2 



Rs. As. P. 



3 Maharool 6 

3 Pathoree 8 

4 Jamoogooree 12 



Rupees .... 38 

In addition to the lakes^ five ferries across the 
Kullung- were also granted by the Rajah of Assam 
rent free^ to induce the tribes to resort to the plains 
for the purpose of trading* with the Assamese in 
g-rain and dried fish. The estimated value of these 
g'hatS; or ferries, was a mere trifle^ viz. : — 



1. 


Depholoo Ghat or 


Ferry . 


. . 2 


8 


2. 


Sanchoa Mookh 




. . 2 


8 


3. 


Ooneehattee 




. . 2 


8 


4. 


Meekirhath 


V • • 


. . 2 


8 


5. 


Nikamolee 




. . 2 


8 




Rupees . . . 


. . 12 


8 



The total value of the lakes and ferries may be 
estimated at 50 rs. 8 as. This amount^ however^ 
was not realized in cash^ but in kind. Each ferry 
paid annually to the Meekirs twelve poorahs of 
rice, or four maunds, twenty seers. This was not 
the perquisite of any one chief, but the whole tribe 



K 



130 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



of Meekirs was entitled to a share of the grain. 
The same S3^stem prevailed in respect of the lakes 
or fisheries. They were annually let out and paid 
for in fish^ whenever the Meekirs resorted to the 
plains to trade. In 1846^ the ferries being- no 
longer let out by the Meekirs^ and the bheels or 
lakes likewise being* let by them for a mere trifle, 
this circumstance was publicly noticed^ and the 
collector broug-ht them on the regular rent-roll 
of the district^ as there was no reason whatever 
for their being any longer exempted from taxation, 
as they had no right to privileges not enjoyed by 
the public community. Mongahwarre settlements 
having been concluded with the chiefs, they re- 
ceive from Government a money commission for 
the trouble of collecting the revenue, as well as 
other Mongahdars. The Meekirs asserted that 
they had a rent-free grant of 1,000 poorahs of 
land, styled Aankar, granted to them by one of 
the Rajahs of Assam ; but they have never been 
able to produce a copper phuUa or sunnud deed 
of gift, either for the land^ lakes, or ferries : all 
claim^ therefore^ for either one or the other was 
inadmissible. The amount of tribute, realized from 
the Meekirs in the year 1241 B. s., or 1834-35, 
for three years^ will be gathered from the fol- 



REVENUE SETTLEMENTS. 131 

lowing" table, extracted from the profit and loss 

of articles sold, which had been given in as 
tribute 

A.D. 

1884- 35 168 14 4 

1885- 86 232 8 

1836-37 249 14 9 

Rupees 651 5 1 

In 1837-38, the system of taking- tribute in 
kind was abolished, and the Meekirs were formed 
into three imag-inary g-rades or classes, and taxed 
at a certain rate for each grade, though amongst 
themselves no such grade or rank existed. 



FmsT Revenue Settlement effected with the Meekirs fob 
1837-38, A.D. 



hi 
u 
X> 

a 

a 
iz. 

1 

2 

4 

5 


Name of 
Mongahs, or 
Dooars. 


Name of 
Chiefs. 


Srd 
Rate 
House. 
Ir.Sas. 


2nd 
Rate 
House. 
3 rs. 


1st 
Rate 
House. 
4rs. 


Total 
Number of 
Houses, 


Gross 
Revenue. 


Deduct 
Commission, 
12 rs. 8 as. 
per cent. 


Net 
Revenue. 


Koteeatollee . 
Bamoonee . . 
Salonah .... 
Dehooa .... 
Mooning . . . 


Teena .. 
Sanhabee 
Habhee. . 

Mye 

Horbeeha 


52 
43 
99 
52 
24 


24 
36 
108 
82 
31 


7 
13 

22 
1332 
2 


83 
92 
229 
267 
57 


rs. as. 

178 

224 8 
560 8 
856 
137 


22 4 
28 1 
70 1 
107 1 
17 2 


rs, as. 

155 12 
196 7 
490 7 
749 
119 14 


270 


281 


177 


728 


1956 


224 8 


1711 8 



The assessment of the Meekirs in grades or 
classes, in a trial of two years for 1837-38, 1838-39, 

K 2 



132 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



A. D.J not g-iving- the result or satisfaction anti- 
cipated^ it was deemed expedient still further to 
simplify the system, and one universal rate was 
adopted for the whole tribe, the poorest man pay- 
ing* the same as his wealthy neighbour, viz. two 
rupees four annas per house, whether it was large 
or small, capable of containing* one family or two, 
for any extent of land they thoug"ht proper to 
cultivate, and this rate has continued to the present 
day. 

Revenue Settlement for 1839-40, a.d. 



Number of 
Houses. 


Rate per 
House. 


Gross 
Revenue. 


Deduct 
Commission 
12-8 per cent. 


Net 
Revenue. 




Rs. A. 


Rs. 


A. 


Rs. A. P. 


Rs. A. P. 


69 


2 4 


155 


4 


19 6 6 


135 13 6 


45 


»» 


101 


4 


12 10 6 


88 9 6 


128 




288 





36 


252 


210 


)J 


472 


8 


59 1 


413 7 


45 




101 


4 


12 10 6 


88 9 6 


65 


)1 


141 


12 


17 11 6 


128 6 


244 


») 


308 


8 


63 9 


144 15 


806 




1768 


8 


221 1 


1547 7 



Name of Dooar, 
or 

Mongah. 



Koteeatollee 
Bamoonee 
Salonah . 
Dehooa . . 
Moorung . 
Deekaroo. 
Deesa . . . 



As the Meekirs take up fresh land every two or 
three years, and remove their dwellings to dilFerent 
parts of the Hills, it is necessary to make a new 
settlement every year with their chiefs. The 
revenue, therefore, fluctuates considerably, which 
will be seen by the following* Table for 1851-52. 



REVENUE SETTLEMENTS. 



Revenue Settlement of the Meekir Hills for 1258 b.s., or 
1851-52 A D. 



Commission. 


Net 
Revenue. 


OO 






1/4 




lU 


161 


1 





844 


11 





19 


15 


2 


79 





10 


36 


2 


4 


170 


13 


8 


40 


8 


7 


195 


11 


5 


59 


7 





302 


13 





17 


14 


10 


67 


9 


2 


20 


10 





82 


14 





31 


6 


10 


144 


1 


2 


24 


5 


4 


103 


14 


8 


13 


8 


7 


42 


11 


1 


21 


10 


10 


108 


13 


2 


37 


8 





178 


8 





56 


11 


9 


287 


8 


3 


577 


11 


5 


2783 


12 


7 



1 

2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 
9 
10 
11 
12 
13 
14 



Names of 
Mongah. 



Koteeatollee . . . 
Bamoonee .. . . 

Salonah 

Moorung 

Deekaroo 

Deesa 

Kokurakata . . . 
Hurliik Purbut. 
Amia Purbut . . 
Thereho Purbut 
Kantee Purbut . 
Siugemaree . . . 
Joonthong .... 
Baguree 



e 5 



94 
447 
44 
92 
105 
161 
38 
46 
78 
57 
25 
58 
96 
153 



1494 



■M o 



Rs. A. 
2 4 



Revenue. 



Rs. A. 

211 8 

1005 12 

99 

207 

236 4 

362 4 

85 8 

103 8 

175 8 

128 4 

56 4 

130 8 

216 

344 4 



3361 8 



R evbnue Settlement of Meekirs residing in Northern Cachar, 

FOR 1851-52, A D. 

















o 

JS 


Names of 






Gross 




Net 


a 


Mongah. 


Numl 
Ilou 


a O 


Reveuue. 


Commission. 


Revenue. 








Rs. 


Rs. A. 


Rr. A. P. 


Rs, A. p. 


1 


Chargeemee .... 


114 


1 


114 


14 4 


99 12 


2 




113 


>j 


113 


14 2 


98 14 


3 




56 




56 


7 


49 


4 




73 


» 


73 


9 2 


63 14 






356 




356 


33 8 


311 a 




Grand Total . . 


1850 




3717 8 


622 3 5 


3095 4 7 



134 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



No correct census of the Meekir population to 
this day has been taken; but from the revenue 
statement given in by the Meekir Chiefs for the 
year 1851-52^ there are — 

In the Meekir hills 1^494 houses 

In Northern Cachar 356 

1,850 

5 persons in each house. 
9,250 

So that the population for the whole tribe in 
the Meekir hills and Northern Cachar, amounts 
to about 9,250 persons. This estimate, however, 
may be deemed less than the real number, con- 
sidering the extent of country occupied by this 
tribe ; but in the absence of other authentic docu- 
mentary proof it would be futile to offer specu- 
lative conjectures. For, strange to say, no public 
European officer has, till the present year, visited 
the Meekir hills or their villages, to ascertain by 
a personal examination the number of houses in 
each village. Even then it would be no easy 
matter to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion in 
regard to the Meekir population, as from five to 
thirty individuals frequently reside in one house ; 
and they are so superstitious that they view with 



RELIGION AND CUSTOMS. 



185 



g-reat dread any idea of numbering' the people, 
apprehending' that sickness, ill-luck, and deaths, 
would be the inevitable consequence of such a pro- 
cedure, and on this account, mainly, have we 
hitherto abstained from interfering* with their pre- 
judices, or causing offence. 

However, when Captain Butler, Principal Assist- 
ant, and Mr. Sub-Assistant Masters, passed throug-h 
Bamoonee, Koteeatollee and Dubboka Dooars 
in January, 1848, and several other Dooars, in- 
habited by Meekirs, which were also visited by Mr. 
Masters, a g'reat extent of country was observed 
to be under cultivation with cotton and rice, and 
the Meekirs were scattered in every direction, in 
solitary huts, or in small villages of six or seven, 
and no villag-e exceeded twenty houses. There 
seems little doubt that many families live tog-ether 
to avoid paying" the house-tax. Their houses are 
built on bamboo platforms, supported by innumer- 
able bamboo posts, eight or ten feet hig-h, with 
a ladder, or oftentimes only a single pole cut into 
notches or steps, to ascend by, which is removed 
at night, and they are thus secure from the intru- 
sion of wild beasts. 

The houses vary in size according* to the num- 
ber of families residing under one roof. Some are 



136 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



thirty^ some forty feet long-, and twenty feet wide, 
with the g-rass roof brought down almost to the 
platform. The whole building* consists of one 
larg-e room ; they keep their grain in baskets in the 
room, and men, women, and children, all lie down 
together on their respective mats in their allotted 
places almost in a state of nature, for they wear 
only the smallest piece of cotton cloth round the 
waist, which extends not even to the knees, and 
the women in their villages do not cover the 
breast. They are, nevertheless, chaste^ and in 
their moral behaviour superior to the people of 
the plains. 

The Meekirs have no particular creed, or any 
written language of their own, yet their dialect 
differs from that of every other tribe in the pro- 
vince, and we are at a loss to conjecture whence 
they came, or from what race they sprang. They 
abstain from eating the cow, more, it is believed, 
from prudential than from religious motives, as 
they consume every other kind of animal, and are 
much addicted to the use of spirits made from rice. 
Although they have no priest to keep up the form 
or practice of religion, they do not totally neglect 
to make offerings to unknown deities. It is z'e- 
pprted that they worship the sun and moon, and 



RELIGION AJSD CUSTOMS. 



137 



make sacrifices to both, of hogs, g'oats, and fowls. 
In fact, these sacrifices may be considered more 
in the lig'ht of feasts, as the portion allotted to the 
deity is very scanty, and composed of the refuse 
parts. They also sacrifice to rivers, and large 
stones, or trees, in their neighbourhood, which 
are considered the abode of the deities. On the 
appearance of any epidemical disease amongst 
them, they have recourse to sacrifices ; and if the 
Avrath of the deities cannot be appeased — that is, 
should the sickness not abate — they leave their 
houses and property, and retire to the densest 
forests, closing all communication with their for- 
mer habitations. In the year 1834-35, the cholera 
raged throughout the Hills, and so alarmed were 
the inhabitants that there was scarcely a single 
village that did not remove to a new site. 

The Hindoo Gosams, or priests of Assam, have 
hitherto succeeded in converting to Hindooism only 
those Meekirs residing on the plains, or adjacent 
low hills. On conversion they enter the class termed 
Kach, and are allowed to retain nearly all their 
customs, the priests being satisfied with the yearly 
contributions derivable from these disciples, and 
are utterly regardless of their principles. They are, 
however, required to give up the use of spirituous 



138 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



liquors^ and in lieu they acquire the pernicious 
habit of eating" opium. 

Marriag-e among-st them has nothing* religious ; 
it is a simple contract between the parties. The 
suitor g"oes to the parents with a quantity of 
spirits; if his offer is agreeable, they drink to- 
gether, and all friends are invited to a feast. 
When the suitor takes the bride home, another 
feast is given by him, when the ceremonies are 
completed. Sometimes a man voluntarily engages 
to serve as a bondsman for a number of years to 
the father of the promised bride; and Avhen the 
period of service expires the marriage takes place 
with the usual festivities. Pol3^gamy is not prac- 
tised, and they reproach their countrymen of the 
plains for having adopted the Assamese custom. 
They burn their dead and bury the ashes, giving 
a feast before and after the ceremony. In short, 
without eating and drinking scarcely anything of 
importance is performed. 

Unlike any other Hill tribes of whom we have 
any knowledge, the Meekirs seem devoid of any- 
thing approaching to a martial spirit. They are 
a quiet industrious race of cultivators, and the 
only weapons used by them are the spear and 
Dao handbill for cutting down jungle. It is said 



EELIGION AND CUSTOMS. 



139 



that, after an attempt to revolt from the Assamese 
rule^ they were made to forswear the use of arms, 
which is the cause of the present generation 
having no predilection for war. Although they 
use spirits immoderately, no affrays take place 
among them; robberies very seldom occur, and 
those of a very trifling nature. Petty thefts are 
generally decided amongst themselves. The prin- 
cipal products of the Meekir Hills are cotton, 
canoes, wax, lac, ginger, and rice. They change 
their cultivated lands every three years, and, as 
they prefer clearing fresh tracts to tilling the old, 
large logs of timber are becoming very scarce. 



14Q 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE ANGAHMEE NAGAHS. 

The Angahmee Nagahs — Number of villages and population — 
Manners and customs — Mode of warfare — Religion — Funerals — 
Oaths — Omens— Mode of tillage. 

The following" table shows the number of Angah- 
mee Nagah villages with the probable number of 
houses and inhabitants in each. We have dis- 
covered up to the present day seventy-eight vil- 
lages, containing 19^949 houses; and, allowing 
five persons to each house, the population amounts 
to 99,745. 



Number. 


Names of Villages. 


Number of 
Houses in 
each Village. 


Number of 
Persons in 
each Village, 
at five Persons 
per House. 


1 

2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 


Carried forward .... 


150 
30 

140 
10 
40 
20 

105 


750 
150 
700 
50 
200 
100 
525 


495 


2475 



VILLAGES AND POPULATION 



141 



Names of Villages. 



Number of 
Houses in 
each Village. 



Number of 
Persons in 
each Village, 
at five Persons 
per House. 



Brought forward. 

8 Peereh-mah 

9 Pripheh-mah 

10 Tiseepah-mah 

11 Siteke-mah 

12 Tisejee-mah 

13 Phegue-mah ...... . 

14 Vepomah , 

15 Phirkekremah 

16 Lehah-mah 

17 Tehephah-mah 

18 Themo-mah 

19 Mekche-mah 

20 Hehtohphe-mah 

21 Ghareephemah 

22 Tsecha Bagwee-mali 

23 Tsecha Basah-mah 

24 Nezhah-mah 

25 Keroo-mah 

26 Tseswee-mah 

27 Thegue-mah 

28 Keykroo-mah 

29 Chedeh-mah 

30 Diiho-mah 

3 1 Rejoomutoo-mah 

32 Lohjheh-mah 

33 Chadoo-mah 

34 Tsoophagho-mah 

35 Thengeghoo-mah 

36 Kekreh-mah 

37 Thehoseh-mah 

38 Khegoh-mah 

39 Keedee-mah 

40 Khegha-mah, seven villag( 

41 Kraloo-mah 

42 Thoobohmeh-mah 

43 Mahree-mah 

44 Tselho-mah 

45 Sapo-mah, seven villages . 

46 Quage-mah 

47 Vesmeh-mah 

48 Mee-mah 

Carried forward . 



495 
27 
37 

200 
50 
30 
30 
50 
50 
30 

100 

300 

300 
500 
550 
300 
500 
200 
40 
40 
200 
300 
80 
60 
1000 
200 

800 
1000 
60 
200 
300 
1600 
200 
200 



2000 
60 
600 
300 



2475 

135 

185 
1000 

250 

150 

150 

250 

250 

150 

500 
1500 

1500 
2500 
2750 
1500 
2500 
1000 

200 

200 
1000 
1500 

400 

300 I 
5000 ^ 
1000 j 

4000 ! 
5000 ! 
300 
1000 
1500 
8000 
1000 
1000 



10,000 
300 
3000 
1500 



12,989 



64,945 



U2 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



49 
50 
51 
52 
53 
54 
55 
56 
57 
58 
59 
60 
61 
62 
63 
64 
65 
66 
67 
68 
69 
70 
71 
72 
73 
74 
75 
76 
77 
78 



Names of Villages. 



Brought forward 

Keegue-mah 

Tara-mah 

Veeheha-mah 

Kohe-mah 

Joshe-mah 

Kono-mah 

Lache-mah 

Geeroopheh-mah 

Kohroo-mah 

Mozo-mah 

Mazah-mah , 

Needshoo-mah 

Jakah-mah , 

Tseshegoo-mah ......... 

Chephoh-mah 

Tehootwitzoo-mah 

Keehybad Swee-mah ... 

Sirapho-mah 

Kilsah Leekah-mah ... 

Tsesmyzhoo-mah 

Keepoo-mah . . 

Koloozhoo-mah , 

Bogwee-mah 

Isehboo-mah , 

Ugoh-mah 

Upreh-mah , 

Pooselboo-mah 

Nysobzhoo-mah , 

Phooleh-mah , 

Ghagheephah-mah , 

Total 



Number of 
Houses in 
each Village. 



12,989 
600 
300 
100 
820 
600 
500 
140 
80 
60 
300 
100 
40 
300 
300 



200 
1000 
100 
170 
100 
100 
100 
150 
300 
200 
300 
300 



Number of 
Persons in 
each Village, 
at five Persons 
per House. 



20,249 



The villag-es are generally built on the hig'hest 
and most inaccessible hills^ north of the great 
range of mountains separating* Assam from Munee- 
poor and Burmah. Every side is stockaded^ and 



VILLAGES ANT) POPULATION. 



143 



a ditch g-enerally encircles the most exposed part 
of the villag-e^ which is studded with panjies. The 
sloping* side of the hill is likewise not uncommonly 
cut down so as to form a perpendicular wall^ and 
thus fortified^ these villag-es could offer serious re^ 
sistance to any force assailing* them without fire- 
arms. These positions, however^ are frequently 
ill chosen, being* commanded by adjoining* heig*hts, 
from which the internal economy of the village 
can be viewed, and a well-judg-ed attack with fire^ 
arms would render opposition useless. 

The houses are all built with g-able ends, twelve 
or sixteen feet wide by about thirty or forty long*. 
The roof is made of g'rass and bamboos, and the 
eaves come down within a foot of the g^round^ as a 
greater protection from storms. The house is 
generally divided into two rooms. On one side of 
the entrance, or sitting apartment, huge baskets, 
five feet high and four feet in diameter, are placed, 
and in a corner the spirit tub. Planks of wood are 
arranged round the fire on the ground for seats, 
and fowls, pigs, children, men and women, seem to 
have free access ] the filthy state of their dwellings 
can, therefore, be imagined. In front of each 
house large stones are placed, on which the Nagahs 
delight morning and evening to sit and sip, with a 



144 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



wooden ladle from a bowl, a most offensive liquor 
made of rice. 

The houses, thoug*h irregularly built, are gene- 
rally in two lines, the gable ends of each row of 
houses projecting- towards the main street. Into 
this everything is thrown, and it being the recep- 
tacle for the filth of the whole village, conse- 
quently the odour is so offensive that it is scarcely 
possible to remain long* in the main road. All 
of the small villages are subject to the large villages 
Mozo-mah, Kono-mah, Kohe-mah, and Lopsheh- 
mah, and they are obliged to secure their own safety 
by paying them an annual tribute of cloths, fowls, 
cows, pigs, &c., according to their means, or as 
much as will satisfy the rapacity of the freebooters. 

The young men are fine, well proportioned 
figures, and by no means bad looking. Some tie 
their hair up in a knot on the head ; others allow 
it to flow loose and about four inches long, which 
g'ives them a very wild appearance. Their com- 
plexions are brown, mouths large, nose flat, high 
cheek bones, sharp small eyes, and a cunning, arch, 
severe, expression of countenance when excited, 
that truly denotes their traits of character, cruel, 
treacherous, and vindictive. No part of the body 
is tattooed, as is the custom with the Nagahs of 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 



145 



Upper Assam. The women are shorty stout^ and 
unprepossessing' in appearance. They weave the 
clothing- required for the family^ work in the fields, 
cut and bring- in firewood and water, and perform 
every description of drudg'ery. 

The dress of the Ang-ahmee Nag'ahs consists of a 
blue or black kilt, prettily ornamented with cow- 
rie shells ; and a coarse brown cloth made of the 
bark of the nettle plant is loosely thrown over the 
shoulders. The warrior wears a collar round the 
neck, reaching' to the waist, made of g-oats'-hair, 
dyed red, intermixed with long* flowing* locks of 
hair of the persons he has killed, and ornamented 
with cowrie shells. No one is entitled to wear 
these insig nia of honour, unless he has killed many 
of his enemies, and broug-ht home their heads. No 
reg-ular government can be expected to exist 
among'st wild uncivilized tribes, who are ig-norant 
of the use of letters or the art of writing-, and 
whose dialects differ and are scarcely intellig-ible 
to the tribes on the adjoining- hills, and whose lei- 
sure time is spent in the diversion of surprising- 
each other in hostile attack, rapine, and murder. 

Still, every Ang-ahmee villag-e has a polity of its 
own. Their government is decidedly democratic ; 
for, although each village community has a nomi- 

L 



146 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



nal head or chief; it is evident their chiefs have no 
absolute power over the people. They do not 
collect any revenue^ neither can they issue any 
orders with any chance of being* obeyed^ if the 
measure or act is not popular. In all transactions 
of importance, such as setting* out on a pre- 
datory inroad; or to take reveng-e on any villag-e, 
the ag-ed and warriors of the villag"e assemble 
tog"ether and decide on what is to be done } but it 
is believed that the counsel of the warriors is more 
frequently adopted than the sober advice of the 
elders and peaceably disposed. Every man is his 
own master, aveng-es his own quarrel^ and from 
private jealousies, animosities^ and injuries^ innu- 
merable murders and quarrels frequently occur. 

The authority or title of the chief of a villag-e 
is hereditary. The eldest son^ on the death of his 
father, or even before his death, if very infirm^ 
succeeds to the dig'nity. In most villag-es there 
are g-enerally two chiefs^ but their authority is 
nominal. Their orders are obeyed so far only as 
they accord with the wishes and convenience of 
the community. They possess no exclusive power 
to take cog-nizance of offences ag-ainst the person 
or property of individuals. The crime of murder 
cannot be expiated ; the relations of the murdered 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 



147 



person instantly, if possible^ spear the murderer, 
without reference to the council of elders^ unless 
the delinquent take refuge in another village, when 
he may escape for years^ but he is never safe. 
Years after the deed has been committed he may 
be surprised and murdered^ for revenge is con^ 
sidered a sacred duty never to be neglected or 
forgotten. Adultery is also an offence that admits 
of no compromise. If a man's wife is seduced, 
the injured husband will surely spear the seducer 
on the first opportunity. Thefts and other petty 
offences are disposed of by a council of elders^ and 
a fine is imposed according to the degree of injury 
sustained. On such occasions couch shells^ spears^ 
salt, beads, rice^ or cotton cloths^ are decreed to 
be given by the culprit, and the property, or its 
equivalent, to be restored. 

The Angahmee Nagahs appear, from all we can 
learn, to have no idea of a future state of retribu- 
tion of good or evil. They imagine there are many 
gods, or good and evil spirits, residing in their 
hills. To one, they offer up sacrifices of cows and 
mithuns ; to another, dogs ; and to a third, cocks 
and spirituous liquor. Each god, or spirit, has in 
their estimation the power to afflict them with 
sickness, ill luck, and a variety of calamities, or to 

L 2 



148 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



make them successful in their incursions, and pro- 
sperous in their undertakings, or daily occupations. 
They choose their own wives ; the damsel's consent^ 
as well as that of her parents, bein^ obtained by 
presents. The brideg-room on the day of his mar- 
riag-e gives a g-rand feast proportionate to his 
means to his friends^ and in return they assist the 
new-married couple in constructing* a house to 
live in. 

At sixteen years of ag-e a youth puts on ivory 
armlets^ or else wooden^ or red-coloured cane ones, 
round his neck. He suspends the couch shells with 
a black thready puts brass earring's into his ears, 
and wears the black kilt ; and if a man has killed 
another in war^ he wears three or four rows of 
cowries round the kilt^ and ties up his hair with a 
cotton band. If a man has killed another in war, 
he is entitled to wear one feather of the dhune's 
bird stuck in his hair, and one feather is added 
for every man he has killed^ and these feathers 
are also fastened to their shields. They also use 
coloured plaited cane leg'g'ing-s^ wear the war 
sword^ spear^ shield^ and choong-a or tube for 
carrying- panjies. They also attach to the top of 
the shield two pieces of wood in the shape of 
buffalo horns, with locks of hair of human beings 



MODE OF AVARFARE. 



149 



killed in action hang-ing- from the centre. Before 
they set out on a war expedition^ all assemble 
together and decide on the villag-e to be attacked, 
and the chief appointed to command the party 
consults the usual omens, which proving" pro- 
pitious, a fowl is killed and cooked, and all partake 
of it. 

They then provide themselves with spears, shields, 
and 2i panjie choonga, and cooking* tw^o days' food 
wrap it up in leaves in baskets with some meat^ 
and set out for the villag-e to be attacked, near 
which they lie in ambush during* the nig'ht till the 
break of day, when they rush in upon it with a 
great noise, and spear the first they meet with, and 
afterwards cut off the head, hands, and feet, of 
their enemies, roll them up in a cloth, and return 
home. They then take the skulls to each house 
in the village and throw rice and spirits over them, 
and tell the skulls to call their relatives. The 
man who has cut off the head keeps it under his 
bedstead five days : during that time the warriors 
eat no food prepared by women, and do not cook 
in their accustomed cooking pot. After the fifth 
day, however, the heads or skulls are buried, and 
a great feast is given of pigs and cows, after which 
they bathe and return to their avocations. They 



150 TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 

do not g-o out singly on inroads^ but in bodies. 
A Nag*ah can never give up his revenge ; he must 
aveng-e the death of a relative in some way or 
other^ either by stealth or surprise ; kill one or 
two in return^ and carry off their heads^ panjying" 
the road after their retreat to prevent their being 
pursued. 

When a respectable man dies in the village, the 
inhabitants do not quit it for three days, and keep 
the body in the house, after which they kill cows 
and pigs, and give a feast of rice and spirits to the 
whole community. The body is then conveyed to 
the burying-ground, where it is interred, and a 
stone tomb is built over the grave, three or four 
feet high, and all the men, being dressed in their 
war habiliments, make a great noise, and jump 
about, and say, What spirit has come and killed 
our friend ? Where have you fled to ? Come, let 
us see you, how powerful you are. If we could 
see you, we would spear you and kill you with 
these spears and with similar vociferous speeches 
and war-whoops, continually repeated, they curse 
the spirit, and strike the earth with their spears 
and swords. They then place on the grave all the 
articles of dress worn by the deceased, as well as 
his arms, his sword, spear, shields, panjie tube, 



RELIGION. 



151 



wearing"- apparel^ bamboo spirit cup, spirit- g'ourd 
bottle, waistband, shells worn round the neck and 
arms, red cane armlets, cane bands worn on the 
leg's, and coloured cane leg'g'ing's and dhune's 
feathers worn in the head. Such is the custom on 
the death of men ; but if a woman dies, her petti- 
coat waistband, cloth tied over the breasts, brass 
ornaments worn on the arms, and necklaces and 
spirit-g-ourd bottle, shuttle for weaving-, spinning- 
stick for cotton, cotton thread, dhan, grain, pestle 
and mortar for cleaning- rice, are all placed on 
her grave. The skulls of pig's and cows are like- 
wise stuck upon sticks at one end of the g-rave, in 
memory of the hospitality exercised by the deceased. 

If a man falls sick, the chief person in the 
house or family sacrifices a fowl, and after placing- 
the entrails and feathers in the road in the even- 
ing-, he calls out to the spirit : — spirit ! restore 
to health the person you have afflicted in my 
family. I offer you the entrails of a fowl.^' After 
saying" this he returns to his house, and takes the 
fowl's head and leg-s, and g"ives them to some other 
family ; the remainder is then eaten at home. If 
the sickness is very severe, a person takes a fowl, 
and g-oes into the jungle, and leaves the fowl alive 
as an offering to the living spirit. If it be to the 



152 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



invisible Hosang* spirit^ then he kills the fowl 
and leaves it in the jungle ; with the exception of 
this^ they have no other remedies. If a Nag'ah has 
cultivated a larg-e extent of land^ and falls sick^ he 
kills a pig", and asks the chiefs or elders to partake 
of his feast^ and assist him to cut his grain. The 
request being acceded to^ a feast is given^ and the 
next day they cut the corn. 

If a cow or pigs be killed by tigers^ or if they 
die off suddenly^ on that day they take an egg* and 
go to the spot on which the cow was killed^ and 
place the egg on the ground^ saying^ " spirit ! 
do not^ we entreat you, kill our cattle from this day 
forth. This is not your residence, your abode is 
in the woods, depart hence from this day.^' After 
saying this, they return home ; it is a day of rest : 
and if cattle die suddenly, or if they accidentally 
wound themselves, that day is also one of rest. In 
the former case the whole village community re- 
mains at home, and in all calamities the usual 
avocations are not thought of. 

A woman may live with a man w^ithout being- 
married, and then go to another ^ but she gives up 
her progeny, and the children remain with the 
father. If a Nagah divorces his wife for any fault, 
shs does not return to her parents, but resides in 



FUNERALS. 



153 



a house by herself, and she can marry ag-ain. If a 
man commits adultery his head is cut off. If a 
thief is caug'ht in the fact^ he is killed. 

When a man wishes to erect a new house^ he 
first collects all the necessary materials^ such as 
bamboos, g-rass^ and posts^ and then fixes on a 
day^ and invites his friends to a feast of fowls^ or 
pig'S; and spirituous liquor. The house is forth- 
with constructed by his friends in a day^ and at 
the close all partake of his hospitality. 

When the Angahmees have nothing* to do^ they 
sit about on the tombs in groups^ and pass the 
day in drinking- spirits and g^ossipping% and form- 
ing- plans for hostile inroads on their neighbours. 

If any villag-e happens to diminish in number^ 
the larg'er villag-es immediately insist on annual 
tribute being- paid to them of cattle, pig'S^ fowls, 
dhan^ and cloth^ or otherwise they plunder it by 
force^ and utterl}^ ruin it. 

The Nag-ahs sink pits in the jung-les six or seven 
feet deep^ and fill them with panjieSj that if any 
animal should fall into the pit it would be killed. 
The surface of the pit is covered over with branches 
and leaves of trees^ and the new earth taken out 
of the pit is conveyed to a distance to prevent 
wild elephants and buffaloes from smelling- that 



154 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



new ground has been broken^ and so avoiding 
the snare. In January, on the full moon, the 
wealthy slaughter cows as a sacrifice to the 
great god^ give a grand feast to their friends ; 
entreat the god to protect them and to prosper 
all their undertakings ; and it is a season of general 
thanksgiving. 

Their mode of taking oaths is singular. When 
they swear to keep the peace^ or to perform any 
promise^ they place the barrel of a gun or a spear 
between their teeth^ signifying by this ceremony 
that^ if they do not act up to their agreement^ they 
are prepared to fall by either of the two weapons. 
Another simple but equally binding oath is, for 
two parties to take hold of the ends of a piece of 
spear-iron, and to have it cut into two pieces, 
leaving a bit in the hand of each party ; but the 
most sacred oath, it is said, is for each party to 
take a fowl, one by the head and the other by the 
legs, and in this manner to pull it asunder, inti- 
mating that treachery or breach of agreement 
would merit the same treatment. They likewise 
erect a large stone as a monument on the occasion 
of taking an oath, and say that, as long as this 
stone stands on the earth, no differences shall occur 
between us." 



OATHS AND OMENS. 



155 



Like all wild uncivilized races, the Nag-ahs are 
superstitious, and any business or undertakings of 
importance is decided by consulting* omens. To 
ascertain whether an hostile incursion on a neig^h- 
bouring tribe would be successful, they cut a soft 
reed into flat pieces ; if the slices fall on one side or 
one upon the other, success is certain; if on the 
reverse quarter, or scattered, it is ominous in pro- 
portion to the number of pieces that have fallen. 
They also pretend that they can discover future 
events by the flig'ht of a cock ; if he flies strong* and 
far it is an auspicious omen ; on the contrary, should 
the flight be for a short distance and weakly, ill- 
luck would inevitably attend any hostile expe- 
dition. If a deer likewise crosses their path, when 
starting" on an expedition, they return home imme- 
diately, and postpone the undertaking* to a future 
day. 

The only weapons used by the Angahmee Nag-ahs 
are a spear and dao, a short sword or hand-bill. 
The spear, in offensive operations, is either thrown 
or retained in the hand, according* to circumstances, 
in close or distant combat with their enemies. The 
dao is used chiefly for cutting down jungle, and 
apparently as a war weapon. They likewise make 
use of a shield of an oblong shape made of split 



156 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



bamboo woven tog^ether^ with sometimes a board 
behind to prevent its being* pierced by a spear. 

The incursions of the Ang-ahmee Nag-ahs are 
chiefly confined to attacks on small defenceless 
villages^ the inhabitants of which they plunder and 
carry oft' into captivity^ until their friends effect their 
ransom by giving* cloths^ couch shells^ beads^ pig*s^ 
and cows. Among-st the Nag-ahs it is considered 
a point of honour to recover the skulls of their 
friendsj who have fallen in an attack made on their 
villag'es^ and prisoners are always decapitated if 
they refuse to accompany or return with the victors 
to their homes. 

It is also totally incompatible with Nag-ah honour 
to foreg-o taking- reveng^e^ and it is incumbent on 
him to ransom or recover the skull of a relative 
murdered or captured in war. Years may elapse ; 
but the murder of a relative is never forg-otten^ 
and when a favourable opportunity offers^ pro- 
bably twice the number of victims are sacrificed. 
Retaliation ag-ain ensues^ and^ consequently^ there 
can never be a termination to these exterminating- 
feuds. Exclusively of reveng-e, however^ one of 
their most barbarous customs is that of cutting- 
off* the heads^ hands^ and feet^ of any one they can 
meet with; without any provocation or prae-existing- 



T\rODE OF TILLAGE. 



157 



enmity^ merely to stick them up in their fields, and 
so ensure a g'ood crop of grain. This practice is 
very common amongst the adjoining' tribe of Lotah 
Nag'ahs^ and the Angahmee Nag'ahs are said also 
to be addicted to it^but not so frequently. The value 
of slaves and cattle is strangely estimated at the 
following- rate : — A male slave is worth one cow 
and three couch shells^ a female slave is worth 
three cows and four or five couch shells. 
A cow .... two couch shells. 

A pig- ... . 

A g'oat .... 

A fowl .... one packet of salt. 

The price of salt in the plains is 7 rupees per 
maund of 40 seers or 80 Ibs.^ and a couch shell is 
worth 1 rupee^ so that a male slave is worth 13 
rupees or 26 seers ^ a female slave 34 rupees or 
68 seers 3 a cow 10 rupees or 1/.; a g-oat or pig- 
2 rupees or 4 seers each. 

Weapons^ spears^ handbills^ and hoes^ are pro- 
cured from Muneepoor. The land is roughly cul- 
tivated ; oftentimes turned up with a crooked stick 
in lieu of a hoe^ for they have no idea of plough- 
ing". The land is cultivated from the base to the 
summit of the hills in terraces^ and irrigated by 
channels cut from running streams. They grow 



158 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



rice, pumpkins^ gourds^ yams^ chillies^ and ging-er. 
Cotton is not grown in the eastern part of the 
hills ; but a coarse cloth is manufactured from the 
bark of the stalks of the nettle-plant, and whatever 
cotton is required for clothing* is procured from 
Sumokhoo-Ting", Rojapo-mah, and Beereh-mah. 



DEPARTUKE FROM NOW-GONG. 159 



CHAPTER X. 

Departure from Now- Gong to visit the eastern part of the district- 
Wild elephants — A night at the village of Lonkhoa Ghat— A fire 
in the jungle — An unexpected addition to the party — Return to 
Now- Gong — Another visit ^to the Hills, and disturbances with the 
Nagahs. 

After a few days' rest at Now-Gong-^ on the Srd 
January I set out on my elephant with my family 
to visit the Government schools^ and institute final 
inquiries on the eastern part of the division of 
Now-Gong". All went well with us till we reached 
Roleabur, where we found it impossible to g*et 
the palkee throug-h the reed jung-le ; a path was 
thenceforward cut day by day previously to our 
marching" to our grass huts^ at every stag'e. On 
arriving- at Katoree^ we found that the namg-hur^ 
a building" for travellers and g-eneral assemblies^ 
had been closed in for our reception, as the villag-- 
ers conceived this would render it more com- 
modious ; but a party of elephant-hunters had just 
caught and tied up nine wild elephants to posts in 



160 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



front of the narnghur. Two were of an immense 
size^ called mukuas, or male elephants without 
tusks. These two monsters were within thirty 
paces of our door^ and their screeching* and strug- 
g-ling- throug-hout the nig'ht to break from their 
bonds^ rather alarmed us. They seemed perfectly 
furious ] their foreleg's were tied to a larg-e post^ 
and their hindleg-s were also fastened in a similar 
manner^ with an immense rope or cable strong-ly 
secured round the neck, Notwithstanding* they 
were thus fettered^ no one dared to approach them ) 
they would have killed any person in an instant 
by stamping' them to death^ or throwing* them into 
the air_, had any one had the temerity to g*o near 
them^ unprepared for a rush. The elephant hun- 
ters always took the precaution to hold a pointed 
spear in front, whilst they threw down charra 
g'rass, or placed water for their subsistence. 

A few days before we arrived, a large elephant 
had been tied up by the neck to a tree, and be- 
coming' mad with rag-e at the loss of liberty, pulled 
down the tree, and being entangled was strang-led. 
The body not having- been buried, the whole atmo- 
sphere round Katoree was scarcely bearable from 
this putrid mass of flesh ; we could not sleep the 
whole nig'ht from the offensive odour, which was 



WILD ELEPHANTS. 



IGl 



enoug'h to produce a raging- pestilence ; as^ how- 
ever^ we were surrounded by heavy jung-le^ we could 
not quit the spot that nig*ht^ until the road was 
cut open; but the next morning' we started at 
daybreak^ and cut our way as we advanced. 

The road was excessively roug"h^ wdth slig'ht 
ascents and descents, throug-h forest and grass 
jung'le alternately. Taking* the lead on a larg-e 
elephant in m}^ houdah, with a g-ood battery of 
guns^ about mid-day I w^as surprised to hear in 
my rear a general cry of alarm^ and hastily re- 
traced my steps to the scene of danger^ and then 
learned that a few minutes after I had passed on 
with the Coolies who cut down the jungle^ a huge 
Mukna elephant had rushed out of the jungle, 
and pursued the little bag-gage elephant, which 
was in the rear of my wife and child in the pal- 
kee. The wild elephant had almost overtaken 
the little elephant, which, in the utmost fright, 
screeched, and ran for its life, and passed by my 
pony, which was led a short distance behind the 
palkee. Suddenly seeing the pony, the wild ele- 
phant turned round and fled to the jungles in 
the greatest consternation, to the surprise of the 
whole party, most of whom had begun to climb 
trees. Elephants are extremely afraid of horses,- 

M 



169 



TEAVELS IN ASSAM. 



and the lives of my family and party owed their 
safety^ on the present occasion^ to the fortunate 
circumstance of my pony having- scared off a soli- 
tary destructive Mukna elephant. 

On the 12th, after travelling- 103 miles in ten 
days, we reached Golag'haut^ on the banks of the 
Dhunseeree river^ an outpost established for the 
residence of a sub-assistant. There are a few 
merchants' shops^ and a considerable trade in 
g-rain and other articles is carried on here. 
Having* seen quite enoug-h of the country between 
Now-Gongf and Golag-haut^ to feel desirous of avoid- 
ing* the execrable road and exposure to the sun 
in passing through some deadly swamps^ after a 
three days' halt at Golag'haut^ we succeeded in 
g-etting" a couple of canoes^ and after tying them 
tog-ether with bamboos, and making* a platform 
and roof over the whole, which consisted of two 
little rooms, we dropped down the Dhunseeree to 
its junction with the Brahmapootra. 

At this point we went on shore to inspect the 
villag-e of Tarag'ung-a, on the eastern side of the 
Dhunseeree. All the houses were raised on plat- 
forms four feet hig-h, to secure them ag-ainst the 
inundations, which are very extensive here, and the 
land must certainly be many feet under water in 



A NIGHT AT LONKHOA. 



163 



the rains. We counted forty houses in the villa g-e^ 
and they seemed to have an abundant stock of 
pig-s and fowls. They had likewise some ploug-h- 
bullocks^ which they do not use themselves, but let 
out to their neig-hbours on condition of receivings 
half the produce of the land for their labour. The 
hoe is the only implement which the people of this 
village make use of. The inhabitants consisted 
entirely of Meerees, who^ like the Hill tribes, do 
not drink milk. The whole clan appeared com- 
posed of squalid, apparently debilitated, men, a cir- 
cumstance which probably arose from the low insa- 
lubrious site they have selected to reside on. All 
the Meerees I had hitherto seen were stout, athletic 
men ; but these, probably from taking a large quan- 
tity of opium, the curse of the country, coupled with 
a low, damp residence, have degenerated. 

After drifting down the river Brahmapootra for 
three days, in our mao or raft, we reached Lonk- 
hoa Ghat, opposite Tezpore, on the 19th, and 
taking* possession of a few temporary grass huts, 
erected for our reception close to the village, we 
imagined we should have passed the night quietly ; 
but at about eight p. M., the villagers commenced 
using their wooden rattles, by pulling them when 
suspended in a tree. They are formed of two 

M 2 



164 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



bits of bamboo, so fastened that on being- pulled 
they strike tog-ether. In addition to this^ the 
noise of hallooing- continued at intervals of an 
hour throughout the nig-ht. We got up to in- 
quire the cause of this to us strang-e pastime at 
such an hour, and were coolly told it was to keep 
off the tig-ers and wild elephants; the former 
actually killing- and drag-g'ing- off their cows and 
bullocks from the sheds, if not narrowly watched^ 
and the elephants were so mischievous that no 
g-ranary would escape destruction^ if they were 
not particularly alert. Our servants declared they 
heard tig-ers g-rowling" several times^ and from 
constant alarms we scarcely closed our eyes^ and 
rose unrefreshed at six a. m. 

We mounted our elephants, and literally waded 
throug-h the grass jungle fifteen or twenty feet 
high for about ten miles^ without meeting with 
a vestige of cultivation or a single hut. Before 
reaching the Ropohee river our lives w^ere in con- 
siderable danger. Some Coolies, who had been 
sent out to cut down the jungle on the road, set 
fire to it^ as the quickest mode of clearing the 
country^ and we were^ in consequence, obliged to 
beat round it^ or rather outflank it, and crossed 
the Eopohee river Avith all speed, when we were 



AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR. 



165 



110 long-er in jeopardy. For the last eig-ht miles 
we passed over a low^ level^ marshy country, 
cultivated in some parts, and innumerable villages 
enlivened our way. We reached Now-Gong at 
sunset, only to appreciate more fully the comforts 
of home. 

A few days' rest, however, sufficed, when we 
again set out on the Kullung- river to visit the 
thannahs of Jummoonah Mookh and Jag"ee, in a 
mao or raft formed of two canoes tied tog"ether, 
with a platform of bamboos over both canoes, 
which were also covered in with a bamboo and 
grass roof, thus forming* two snug little rooms. 
Our progress was slow down the river Kullung 
and up the Kopeelee ; and after twelve days' tedious 
travelling, propelling our raft with poles, and 
dragging it with a rope, when opposite Degul- 
duree, on the night of the 14th March, we were 
unexpectedly surprised by the birth of our second 
son, James. Fortunately we were only a few 
miles from Now-Gong, and reached our home the 
same day, truly happy at the event, and prepared 
to enjoy and make the most of our lot. I was, 
however, allowed to remain quiet only a few 
months, for, on the 30th November, 1846, I was 
again deputed to visit the Angahmee Nagah hills ; 



166 



TKAVELS IN ASSAM. 



and as I travelled over nearl}^ the same g-round, 
a repetition of the fatigues and incidents of the 
same kind of tour is unnecessary^ and I need only 
allude to one circumstance. 

Being* ordered to take only a small and select 
body of troops into the interior of the hills^ 
contrary to my own judg-ment^ the Nag-ahs at Mo- 
zo-mah despised so small a force^ and imagined 
they could contend against it^ and accordingly 
leagued together^ and for two days our little party 
was in iauninent danger. One day, at about 
one P. M._, I was surprised to see a large party 
with shields and spears, screeching, yelling, and 
jumping about in the most fantastical manner, 
coming down the Mozo-mah hill in regular battle 
array towards my camp. We immediately got 
under arms, and warned the Nagahs not to 
approach us in this hostile manner. Our position 
being very strong, a stream, with perpendicular 
banks on one flank, and high, inaccessible hills on 
the other, leaving our front only open to attack, 
the Nagahs seemed puzzled what to do. They 
advanced, then halted, sat down in groups, quar- 
relled with each other, and at last, as they saw 
our glittering bayonets in line, ready to receive 
them — and that, though we were but a small body 



ANOTHER VISIT TO THE HILLS. 



167 



of men^ we were not intimidated by their war- 
whoop, or numbers — they suddenly lost courag-e 
and retreated. Within a couple of hours after- 
wards^ the principal chiefs of some of the largest 
villag-es^ Joshe-mah and Gohee-mah^ who had not 
formerly submitted^ came into camp^ putting* aside 
their spears and shields, and thus a complete 
victory was grained over a set of savages^ without 
firing- a sing-le shot^ by simply not submitting* to 
be intimidated^ but keeping* a bold and determined 
front. 

It was the first time they had ever appeared in 
the presence of a European^ and they seemed very 
uneasy, and looked round in every direction, as 
if they meditated immediate flight. As they were 
treated civilly, their fears gradually abated, and 
they left us, highly pleased with their reception, 
after having sworn, with all solemnity and Nagah 
forms, allegiance to the British Government. 

Owing to great fatigue and exposure for the 
last three nights and days, in bringing matters 
thus to a peaceable conclusion, I now, unfortu- 
nately, fell sick with fever, and was compelled to 
return to Now-Gong on the 17th January, 1847. 
But before I left the hills, a military post was 
established in the village of Sumokhoo-Ting, as 



168 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



it was evident that annual military trips alone, 
unaided by a permanently located police in the 
hills; would never attain the object of subduing- 
these lawless clans. In February a police than- 
nah and school was also established in the villag*e^ 
as^ until principles of rig-ht conduct are instilled 
into the minds of the Nag*ahs^ it is in vain to hope 
or expect any amelioration of their condition^ or 
that their feelings or customs will be changed, 

A murder having- been committed at Mozo-mah 
in February^ 1847; the Darog-ah Bhog- Chund at 
Sumokhoo-Ting- was directed to proceed to the vil- 
lag-C; and inquire into the cause of the ag-g-ression. 
On the 8th March the Darog-ah set out with 
twenty Sipahees from Sumokhoo-Ting*; and arrived 
at Mozo-mah on the 10th. Here he learned that 
the Nag-ahs of Lakeh-mah had; without any provo- 
cation whatever; killed a Nag-ah of Mozo-mah; and 
that; according- to their barbarous custom; they 
had cut off and carried away his head; hands; and 
feet. On the 13th he advanced to the villag-e of 
Meerna; after leaving- three malingering' Sipahees 
behind at Mozo-mah. He had scarcely taken up 
his quarters at Meeree-mah; when a party of 
200 Nagahs from Lakeh-mah suddenly made their 
appearance; and by taking- up a position in am- 



DISTURBANCES WITH THE NAGAHS. 169 



bush on the Joshe-mah road^ completely cut off 
their retreat. The 14th was passed in abortive 
attempts by messag-es to bring the Nag-ahs of 
Lakeh-mah to terms^ who had assembled 1^200 
warriors for the occasion in the vicinity of the 
villag-e of Meeree-mah, evidently intent on annihi- 
lating the party lodg-ed in the village. On the 
15th, Bhog' Chund ventured to visit the village of 
Kegue-mah. In returning, one Coolie was slightly 
wounded in the face with a spear, by the Lakeh- 
mah Nagahs, and they had the temerit}^, likewise, 
to take by surprise one of the Coolies of Joshe-mah, 
who was returning from Meeree-mah, and whom 
they instantly tied up to a tree ; they then amused 
themselves with the diversion of target practice, by 
throwing- their spears at this unfortunate man. 
After this, each Nagah cut off a bit of the victim's 
flesh, and held it up to the view of Bhog Chund 
and party, telling them they would cut off their 
heads and distribute their flesh among themselves 
in the same manner as they had done to the 
Coolie who had accompanied him from Joshe-mah. 

The 16th and 17th were passed in useless con- 
ciliatory messages to the enemy. On the 18th, as 
the Lakeh-mah Nag-ahs had declined to receive 
any further communications, but had sworn to kill 



170 



TEAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Bhog" Chund and party, and had thrown up breast- 
works in every quarter to obstruct his return — while 
the Sipahees had been on short rations for the U\st 
five days, and further delay seemed only to in- 
crease the arrog'ance and confidence of the enemy — 
Bhog- Chund at last courag-eously resolved on 
facing" the dang-ers with which he was beset, and 
according-ly marched out of the friendly villag'e 
of Meeree-mah. He had scarcely proceeded a 
mile, when the war yells of 1,600 Nag-ah warriors 
resounded in his ears, who were lying- in ambush 
in every direction, behind breastworks of planks 
and walls. At this critical moment, seven out of 
seventeen of the Shan, Assamese, and Cacharee 
Sipahees, composing* the Now-Gong* Police Militia, 
panic-struck by the war yells of the Nag-ahs, fled 
to the jung-les in the rear, leaving- only ten Sipa- 
hees, with Bhog" Chund, to fight the battle in the 
best way they could. Nothing* daunted by this 
untoward event, when the Na^ahs were closing- 
round the little band, and from a distance throwing- 
their spears at them, a Lance Naick, of the name of 
Ahena, instantly stepped out and boldly challeng-ed 
his companions to follow him and force their way 
throug'h the enemy, or they would be flayed alive. 
His advice Avas fortunately heeded, and being* 



DISTURBANCES WITH THE NAGAHS. 171 



supported by the cool decision of Bhog- Chund^ 
volleys of musketry were repeatedly fired^ and the 
breastworks were rapidly taken at the point of the 
bayonet. The Nagahs were astounded at per- 
ceiving* that their wooden shields were no protec- 
tion against leaden balls^ and hastil}' carrying- off 
their killed and wounded^ whom later reports 
proved to have been numerous^ fled from the field 
of battle. The victorious party returned to the 
friendly villa g-e of Meeree-mah^ and leisurely went 
back to Sumokhoo-Ting" on the 21st without 
further opposition^ and the greatest respect was 
manifested towards them by the weaker clans^ 
for havings humbled one of the most tyrannical 
tribes in the country. 

Such is always the conduct of savag*es — they 
can never be trusted ; and if an inefficient or small 
force is sent a^'ainst them^ it is ten chances to one 
but that it is either attacked in the day^ or sur- 
prised at nig-ht. Greater boldness and presumption 
are always sure to be manifested by savag-es when 
their aggressions pass with impunity, or their acts 
of violence are not instantly chastised. On such 
occasions procrastination or forbearance is con- 
strued into fear^ and they are emboldened to 
commit the most fearful atrocities. The bravery 



172 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



of the Sipaliees, to the credit of the Government^ 
was rewarded by their immediate promotion to the 
g-rade of Havihjars, and Bhog" Chund was exalted 
to the dignity of a second class Darogah^ which 
his distinguished service merited. 



THE ANGAHMEE NAGAH REBELLION. 173 



CHAPTER XI. 

The Angahmee Nagah rebellion — Eighth and ninth military ex- 
peditions in 1849 and 1850. 

During the year 1848, a thousand Ang-ahmee 
Nag-ahs visited the station of Now-Gong", to trade 
with the merchants in salt and cornelian beads^ 
which they g-reatly prize, and the utmost g-ood- 
will was manifested towards the authorities and 
the people of the plains. Early in 1849, however, 
the Ang-ahmee Nag'ah chiefs evinced a turbulent 
disposition among^st themselves and the two 
chiefs of the villag-e of Mozo-mah, Jubelee and 
Milholey, had an unfortunate dispute about some 
land. Jubelee applied for a guard of Sipahees 
to be placed in his villag-e ; and both chiefs waited 
on the ag'ent to the Governor-General at Gowa- 
hattee, and returned to the hills, as we thoug-ht, quite 
satisfied with the prospect of a g-uard being' placed 
in their villag-e either before or after the rains. 



174 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



In May^ 1849^ however, Bhog* Chund Darogah 
found the season so far advanced, that he could 
not obtain any assistance from the Nag'ahs to 
construct a stockade^ and^ on that account^ was 
directed to postpone the measure till after the 
rains, when, in November, the principal assistant 
would proceed to Mozo-mah, and select a good 
site for a stockade, distinct from the village of 
Mozo-mah. 

In July, however, a noted freebooter. Hurry 
Das Kachary, employed as a Darogah by the 
Muneepoor Government, wrote a letter from Bere- 
mah to Bhog- Chund Darog-ah, at Sumokhoo-Ting-, 
asking' him to meet him to settle a case of murder 
that had been committed by the Nagahs of Kono- 
mah. With the concurrence of the ag-ent to the 
Governor-General, he was directed to meet him as 
soon as possible at Beereh-mah ; in the mean time, 
however, Bhog* Chund Darogah heard that Jubelee 
had called in a party of Tooleeram Senahput tee's 
Cacharees, armed with seven muskets, to fig-ht 
ag-ainst Milholey ; and conceiving* that it was 
necessary at once to interfere and prevent blood- 
shed, he set out from Sumokhoo-Ting without any 
orders on the 17th July, 1849, accompanied by 
one Havildar, one Naick, one Lance Naick, and 



THE ANGAHMEE NAGAH REBELLION. 175 



thirty Sipahees of the Novv-Goiig* Police Militia, 
and a few armed Ticklahs. He arrived at Mozo- 
mah on the 19th July, where he was well received 
by both chiefs, and he induced them to construct 
a stockade in the middle of the villag-e, separating- 
the two clans now at enmity with each other. 

After staying' five days at Mozo-mah, Bhog* 
Chund visited other larg-e villages in the neigh- 
bourhood, and was treated in the most friendly 
manner j he then returned to Mozo-mah, and ap- 
prehended seven Cacharees armed with muskets, 
who resided with Jubelee, and demanded of Mil- 
holey the surrender of the person who had killed 
a man of Jubelee's clan. Milholey was indig-nant 
at the request, and replied that he could not sub- 
mit to such a dishonourable act, and entreated him 
not to attempt to apprehend any persons of his 
clan, but to bind him and Jubelee and take them 
both to the Principal Assistant at Now Gong*, and 
he would cheerfully abide by his decision and 
settlement of the question. 

Strange and unaccountable as it may seem, this 
reasonable request was utterly scorned by Bhog* 
Chund, and instantly, in spite of all entreaty and 
warning', he apprehended two men of Milholey's 
clan. This conduct so exasperated Milholey, that 



176 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



he and his clan immediately left the village of 
Mozo-mah^ which was tantamount to a declaration 
of war j but Bhog* Chund seemed perfectly reck- 
less and fearless of all threats^ and continued in the 
villag-e of Mozo-mah three days. 

On the 2nd August^ after leaving* three Ticklahs 
armed with muskets^ to take charg-e of the newly- 
built stockade at Mozo-mah^ he set out for Sumo- 
khoo-Ting". On the line of march no opposition^was 
offered to his party, but on approaching- the village 
of Pripheh-mahj one of the Nagah prisoners effected 
his escape from the guard; by jumping down a 
precipice^ and was not seen afterwards. This 
circumstance^ it is said^ caused Bhog Chund 
great anno3^ance; and he became reckless and des- 
perate^ and bade the Nagahs defiance. Though 
warned by Nagah women and Jubelee that he 
would certainl}^ be attacked by Milholey that 
night; if he was not very watchful^ he heeded no 
warning's^ and did not apparently take any pre- 
cautions to guard against a surprise. 'No sentries 
were placed outside the huts_, and it is evident the 
enemy were held in the utmost contempt. The 
party located themselves in the village of 
Pripheh-mah; in three separate houses j twenty 
SipaheeS; with a Nagah prisoner^ in one house ; 



THE ANGAHMEE NAGAH REBELLION. 177 



Bhog" Chand^ with the Ticklahs and ten Sipahees 
in another house and the seven disarmed Caeharees 
in a separate house by themselves^ whilst the 
Coolies lay down close by without cover. 

At break of day^ on the 3rd Aug-ust^ Nilholey 
and his clan surrounded the houses occupied by 
Bhog" Chand and party^ and with their usual war- 
yells commenced the attack by flinging* stones^ and 
throwing" spears at the huts. Bhog- Chand en- 
treated the Sipahees to come out and beat off the 
enem}^ ; but^ excepting* two or three Nepalese and 
Shan Sipahees, the remainder of the guard could 
not be prevailed on to quit the huts and fire in 
a body on the enemy. This feeble defence em- 
boldened the Nagahs to set fire to the huts^ and 
the ejection of the whole party followed in a few 
minutes ; but^ unfortunately^ at this moment Bhog 
Chand^ with the Shan Havildar and two or 
three Sipahees^ proceeded to the edge of the hill^ 
where Nilholey was lying in wait for him, con- 
cealed behind a high stone. From his ambush Nil- 
holey threw his spear^ which passed throug'h the 
neck and came out between the shoulder-blade^ and 
Bhog Chand fell dead on the spot. The Shan 
Havildar was likewise speared through the body, 
and several Sipahees shared the same fate. The 

N 



178 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



death of the Havildar and Bhog* Chand so dis- 
pu'ited the men that they were panic-stricken and 
immediately fled^ leaving the killed and wounded^ 
with all their bag-g^age, and several muskets^ ammu- 
nition^ and accoutrements ; and they never stopped 
till they reached Sumokhoo-Ting* the same day 
about nine p. m. 

The enemy had three or four killed ; and it 
appears they were either alarmed^ or satisfied with 
what they had done^ for^ on the death of the 
Havildar and Bhog* Chand^ they returned to 
Mozo-mah with all haste ; clearly showing* there 
was no necessity for the rapid flig'ht of the Sipa- 
hees from the scene of this disaster. On this 
eventful morning* our loss in killed was one Daro- 
gah, one Havildar, four Sipahees^ and eig*ht 
Coolies ; and the wounded amounted to one 
Naick, three Sipahees, and four Coolies in all, 
the killed and wounded amounted to twenty-two 
men. It is wonderful that a sing'le man was 
allowed to escape, so little courag*e was shown by 
the troops on this occasion. 

On Nilholey's return with the clan to Mozo-mah, 
he was opposed by Jubelee's clan ; who, true in their 
allegiance to the British Government^ would not 
permit the three Ticklahs left in the stockade by 



THE EIGHTH EXPEDITION. 



179 



Bhog- Chand : viz.^ Bodhoo, Pook^ and Run Sing*^ to 
be given up to the enemy 3 they not only fed them^ 
but maintained open war^ until the ensuing* cold 
season^ in November^ when they all managed to 
return in safety to Dheemahpoor. Nilholey's 
party meanwhile commenced to construct a fort 
on a hig-h ridg-e of the mountains above the villag-e 
of Kono-mah^ to protect themselves ag-ainst the 
veng-eance which they knew awaited them^ as soon 
as our troops could visit the hills. 

On the 20th November^ 1849, Lieutenant Vincent, 
junior assistant-commissioner^ was deputed to con- 
duct^ in the political department^ the eighth expedi- 
tion to the Ang-ahmee Nag'ah hills^ and Lieutenant 
Campbell^ second in command of the 2nd Assam 
Light Infantry^ commanded the party, which con- 
sisted of one Loobadar^ one Jemadar, seven Havil- 
dars, seven Naicks, one Bugler, and 130 Sipahees. 
After passing nearly a month at Dheemahpoor in 
endeavouring- to collect Coolies, and in making ar- 
rangements for provisions, the force, divided into 
small parties, reached Mozo-mah by the latter end 
of December. On the approach of our troops, 
Nilholey and his clan fired a few shots, and retired 
to their fastness in the mountains. 

In the beginning of January, 1850, Lieu- 

N 2 



180 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



tenant Vincent, with a small party of one Ha- 
vildar^ twelve Sipahees, and fifty Nag-ah warriors, 
proceeded to Beereh-mah to have a consultation 
with the political ag-ent of Muneepoor; leaving* 
Lieutenant Campbell at Mozo-mah to build a 
stockade there in the middle of the village, as 
a permanent station for our troops. At that 
time neither of these officers seemed to be aware of 
Nilholey's having- constructed a strong fort in their 
neig-hbourhood it was discovered accidentally, on 
the 14th January. Lieutenant Campbell, when out 
foraging in the jungles to discover concealed rice, 
with only a guard of eighteen men, suddenly fell in 
with the enemy, and followed him to his fort 3 this 
he soon found was not to be captured by his small 
force, and he therefore prudently effected an orderly 
retreat to his own camp in the village of Mozo-mah. 
Two days afterwards, he deputed a native officer 
with sixty-two men to take the fort, but after a 
day's useless exertion, and firing- 500 rounds of 
ammunition, the party retired unsuccessful in the 
evening to Mozo-mah. Notwithstanding this at- 
tempt to capture the fort had failed, Lieutenant 
Campbell did not make any other attempt to take 
the place 5 but, in the latter end of January, 
leaving half his force, about sixty men, at Mo- 



THE EIGHTH EXPEDITION. 



181 



zo-mah^ he proceeded with the reinixinder to visit the 
laro-e villao'e of Josheh-mah. 

In his absence^ a little before break of day on 
the 26th Januar}^^, the enemy burned down the 
whole village of Mozo-mah. Lieutenant Campbell 
seeing- the fire from Josheh-mah, proceeded forth- 
with to Mozo-mah^ where he found that he had lost 
all his provisions. Nag-ah promises of assistance^ 
in supplying* him with rice^ he knew were not to be 
relied on^ and^ in consequence^ he immediately 
retired through the passes^ before they were occu- 
pied by the enemy^ with the whole of his force to 
Dheemahpoor^ which place he reached unmolested 
on the evening of the 28th January. Lieutenant 
Vincent also arrived there on the same day, 
escorted by a party of Muneepoor Sipahees from 
Beereh-mah to Dheemahpoor. 

I had arrived a few days previously at Dheemah- 
poor^ and, in this state of affairs^ finding there were 
no provisions in store^ but only sufficient to supply 
the troops for a short time^ the posts of Sumokhoo- 
Ting, Dheemahpoor, and Mohung Dehooa, were 
strengthened^ and the officers and men returned 
to Now-Gong ; for at that late season of the 3^ear 
there were many difficulties to be overcome, render- 
ing a second expedition extremely hazardous. 



182 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Neither Coolies nor food could have been collected 
for such an undertaking-, under many days; and, 
moreover, Lieutenant Campbell having- informed 
me that 200 men with g-uns would be necessary to 
capture so strong- a fort as the enemy had con- 
structed, there was no other safe alternative but to 
pursue a defensive policy, till the ensuing- cold 
season 5 for we had no g-uns at hand, and a second 
failure was on every g-round to be avoided. The 
mere reinstating of Jubelee's clan in the villag-e 
of Mozo-mah, though quite practicable, was of 
secondary importance to that of taking the fort, 
which could not be accomplished without guns, and 
a large reinforcement of troops. 

This policy, however, was not approved by the 
Agent to the Governor- General, as the frontier boats 
did not prevent the Nagahs from committing mur- 
derous inroads on our villages in the plains. Two 
traders had been murdered near Mohung Dehooa on 
the 5th December, 1849, and twenty-three Meekirs 
had been cut up at Deelao on the 8th J anuary ; and 
at Loongee-jair, near Mohung Dehooa, eighteen 
Cacharees had been slaughtered on the 18th 
February. To check these inroads, it was thought 
expedient to divert the Nagahs by sending^ a de- 
tachment again into the Hills, and to assist Povit- 



THE NINTH EXPEDITION. 



183 



soh in recovering- his lost villag"e. Lieutenant 
Vincent according'ly set out from Now-Gong"^ on 
the 18th February^ to carry out the ninth ex- 
pedition. He reached Dheemahpoor on the 27th 
February, and on the 2nd March^ having* taken 
ten Nepalese Sipahees volunteers from the 1st 
Assam Lig*ht Infantry^ one Havildar^ one Naick^ 
and twenty Sipahees of the Now-Gong* police, he 
set out for Mozo-mah with Povitsoh and his clan, 
who amounted, including* men, women, and chil- 
dren, to 300 persons. 

On the 6th March, the whole party reached 
Mozo-mah without a sing-le accident, and without 
any Coolies to carry the bag-g-ag-e. Nilholey's 
clan, or rather a picket of twenty men, on the 
arrival of our troops at Mozo-mah, g-ave their usual 
war-whoop and fled to Kono-mah, hotly pursued 
by our troops ; a portion of the villag'e of Kono- 
mah inimical to us, and belong*ing* to Pel- 
hoo's clan, was instantly burned to the ground ; 
but that in alliance with us was spared. In this 
manner the friendly Nag-ahs of Mozo-mah were 
reinstated in their villag-e, which had been burned 
down by Nilhuley in January. The consequent 
loss of provisions, had rendered it necessary for 
a larg-e detachment, under Lieutenant Campbell, 



184 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



to retire to Dheemahpoor. Lieutenant Vincent's 
speedy return to Mozo-mah greatly astonished the 
enemy 3 but^ in a few days^ the former evidently 
perceived the perilous position in which he was 
placed. Before leaving* Now-Gong* he had ima- 
gined that thirty men were sufficient to capture 
Mozo-mah, and to maintain it : no one doubted 
but that thirty Sipahees could surprise Mozo-mah ; 
but the attempt to secure it throughout the year^ 
surrounded by numerous turbulent, treacherous, 
savage tribes, all acquainted with the country and 
people, was a perfect delusion. 

Oblivious of past declarations, on the 13th 
March, Lieutenant Vincent called for a reinforce- 
ment of fifty men of the 1st Assam Light Infantry, 
to take the duties of the post at Dheemahpoor, in 
the room of troops withdrawn from thence for 
service in the Hills. By the latter end of 
March Lieutenant Vincent had assembled about 
100 men at Mozo-mah. On the 4th April with a 
select party, after travelling all night, he surprised 
the village of Jaquee-mah, composed of about 300 
houses, and burned it to the ground, because the 
inhabitants were in alliance with the enemy. A 
party of Mozo-mah Nagahs, our allies, accompanied 
Lieutenant Vincent on this night expedition ; and 



THE NINTH EXPEDITION. 



185 



it is to be regretted^ that^ in the pursuit of the 
enemy, six persons were killed : two women amongst 
the number. As this village had not openly 
opposed Lieutenant Vincent, and almost every 
village in the country had similarly assisted the 
enemy with food and shelter, its total destruction 
by fire seems a harsh, vindictive measure, calcu- 
lated to exasperate, and even to make them im- 
placable enemies. 

On the 16th April, Lieutenant Vincent reported 
that the stockade of Mozo-mah was nearly com- 
pleted, and provisions sufficient for thirty-five men 
would be in store in a few days, when he should 
be ready to return to Now-Gong with the 
remainder of the troops; but, before he took 
such a step, he beg'ged to offer his services to 
remain at Mozo-mah throughout the rains, as the 
Nagahs would then see that we could subsist in 
their hills for any length of time, during the hot 
as well as the cold season. As Nilholey, how- 
ever, was so strongly intrenched in his fort be- 
yond Kono-mah, he did not deem it prudent to 
attack him ; but the policy he was pursuing, of 
keeping him out of his fields and village, would 
ill the end oblige him to surrender, he felt con- 
vinced, before the close of the rains. The Agent to 



186 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



the Governor- General acceded to this proposition^ 
and directed Lieutenant Vincent to remain at 
Mozo-mah^ throughout the rains, with an efficient 
force. During" the month of April, Lieutenant 
Vincent saw clearly that his post of 100 men at 
Mozo-mah but little impeded the movements or 
resources of the enemy, for they readily obtained 
all their supplies from Kono-mah and other villag-es. 
To prevent the enemy, therefore, from having* 
access to the village of Kono-mah, or their fields, at 
the request of a clan of that village, he located a 
guard of two Jemadars, one Havildar, two Naicks, 
and forty-one Sipahees, at Kono-mah, on the 26th 
April, in a stockade. This measure, he said, would 
completely prevent access to their village or fields ; 
and, as he was credibly informed the enemy were 
confined to their fort without any great store of 
provision, it would be impossible they could remain 
for any length of time, but must be speedily com- 
pelled to surrender. Notwithstanding this reason- 
ing, the Agent to the Governor-General did not 
approve of the establishment of a post at Kono- 
mah; and he directed that it should be withdrawn, 
if Mozo-mah, Sumokhoo-Ting, or Dheemah-poor, 
should be in any danger. 

On the 8th May, three Sipahees left the stockade 



THE NINTH EXPEDITION. 187 



of Kono-mah to procure water from a spring* close 
by, taking- with them two muskets. Whilst thus 
eng-ag-ed, two Nagahs suddenly appeared on the 
hill above themj at some distance. Upon this, one 
of the Sipahees fired, but without effect; imme- 
diately a number of Nagahs sprang* out from the 
jungle close to the Sipahees. Munsoobaroe at 
once tried to fire his musket, but it missed fire 
three times ; and seeing* there was no chance of 
escape from so many Nag'ahs, the three Sipahees 
fled with all speed towards their stockade. Mun- 
soobaroe, however, in his flight, having* fallen 
into a deep Nullah, was quickly overtaken by the 
Nag*ahs and speared to death, his musket being* 
carried off* in triumph. The other two Sipahees, 
though hotly pursued, reached the stockade in 
safety; a party of Sipahees, on hearing- a shot 
fired, had come out of the stockade to meet them, 
or they also, probably, would have shared the 
same fate as their comrade Munsoobaroe. The 
Sipahees had been frequently warned not to g*o 
from the stockade for water, except in larg*e bodies, 
and with loaded muskets; but as this had not 
been attended to. Lieutenant Vincent now gave 
the Jemadar commanding* the stockade at Kono- 
mah, written orders on no account to permit a 



188 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



smaller party than twenty Sipaliees^ under a non- 
commissioned officer^ with at least ten muskets^ to 
go at any time for water. A stronger proof than 
this of the folly of locating- thirty-five men in a 
stockade in these hills could not be adduced. 
Such was the war in which we were now eng-ag-ed. 
The Sipahees could not^ either at Mozo-mah or 
Kono-mah^ leave their stockade for a drop of water^ 
except in a body of twenty men with loaded mus- 
kets y and frequent attempts at night were made 
by the enemy to surprise the stockades. 

On the 23rd May^ Lieutenant Vincent deter- 
mined to reconnoitre the enemies' fort at Kono- 
mah carefully and minutely^ and to surprise them^ 
if possible^ while engaged in cultivating their land. 
On approaching the fort^ he was assailed with 
stoneS; and fired at ; he returned the fire, and being 
satisfied; from a close inspection, that the right of 
the enemy's position could not be taken without 
the assistance of a gun, he withdrew his party ; 
having one Sipahee slightly wounded with a slug, 
and two or three others panjied. The attempt 
to surprise the enemy cultivating, previously to 
reconnoitring the stockade, failed, owing to the 
enemy not having been at their usual occupation 
that day, but out hunting and bathing' in the river. 



THE NINTH EXPEDITION. 



189 



About the 27th July^ Lieutenant Vincent suc- 
ceeded in effecting; for thirty-seven rupees^ the ran- 
som of Tooleeram^ a Cacharee boy^ who had been 
carried off from the villag^e of Loong"ee-jair on the 
] 8th February^ by a marauding pai*ty of Ang-ahmee 
Nag-ahs. Two other children were at the same time 
carried off, but had been sold to different villag'es; a 
little girl was sold to some Nag-ahs at Beereh-mah^ 
but could not be traced. The fate of the third boy 
was horrible ; he was purchased by the adjoin- 
ing' tribe of Lotah Nag-ahs^ and a man of the 
villag-e having died immediately after the purchase, 
it was considered a bad omen^ and that ill luck had 
befallen them on account of this captive child. 
They therefore flayed the poor boy alive^ cutting 
off his flesh bit by bit until he died. These cruel 
and superstitious savag'es then divided the body^ 
giving a piece of the flesh to each man in the 
village to put into his dolu, a large corn basket. 
By this they suppose all evil will be averted^ their 
good fortune will return^ and plentiful crops of 
grain will be ensured. 

The experience of six months' residence in the 
hills had now conduced to change entirely the 
views of Lieutenant Vincent^ in regard to the 
feasibility of either maintaining a small post in 



190 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



hills^ or subduing" the tribes with thirty muskets ; 
which in February he had deemed practicable. 

On the 26th August he reported that Andaroo 
Sipahee^ when only forty -two paces from the 
stockade at Kono-mah^ was suddenly speared to 
death by two of the enemy secreted behind a 
stone. This act of treachery^ coupled with the 
suspicion entertained that the professed friendly 
Nagahs of Kono-mah were not so faithful as they 
ought to be^ induced him to withdraw the guard 
at once from Kono-mah on the following day. 
The store of rice and the Sipahees' baggage 
were first removed from Kono-mah to Mozo-mah, 
and then all the houses of those Nagahs residing 
in Kono-mah who were not sworn to go to 
Mozo-mah^ were burned down. The Sipahees' huts 
were also destroyed by fire^ and the whole of 
the troops quitted Kono-mah by 5 p.m. on the 24th 
August. 

Lieutenant Vincent remarked on this occasion^ 
I do not consider my position at Mozo-mah, even 
with an increased force^ though perfectly tenable^ 
so safe as it was when I had an advanced picket at 
Kono-mah ; and nothing should have induced me to 
withdraw it, had I not been convinced of treachery 
from within ; for though our troops can withstand^ 



THE NINTH EXPEDITION. 191 



and have successfully withstood^ repeated attempts 
at surprise and attack^ both on their way to and 
from water^ and at night in the stockade^ still it is 
impossible to expect them to be prepared against 
treachery at their very threshold/' 



19Q 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



CHAPTER XIL 

The tenth military expedition — Final result. 

It was now evident that the g'uard stationed at 
Kono-mah from the 26th April to the 24th August 
had not been efficient in preventing* the enemy from 
procuring provisions from all quarters ; and the 
Nagahs had thus been enabled successfully to oppose 
a large detachment from March till the latter 
date. Lieutenant Vincent could only depend upon 
the 160 warriors of Jubelee's clan^ reinstated in 
the villa g-e of Mozo-mah^ in March. The burning* of 
Jaquee-mah and part of Kono-mah did not further 
his object^ nor lead to the capture of the fort or 
the submission of the enemy. On the con- 
trary^ Lieutenant Vincent acknowledged that the 
last daring* act^ the treacherous murder of Andaroo 
Sipahee, showed clearly that the animosity of the 
enemy was unabated ^ and he was of opinion that 
they had no intention whatever of surrendering-, for 



TENTH EXPEDITION. 



198 



Nilholey was daily extendino- his fort^ and there 
was no hope or possibilit}^ of his being* driven from 
it except by a g'un or mortar^ and being* buo3^ed up 
by the assistance they had received from other 
villao*es in food and shelter for themselves and 
families^ all efforts to induce their submission had 
proved fruitless. 

This result was what many experienced officers 
expected before the ninth expedition set out in 
February from Now-Gong*. Thirty Sipahees only 
were solicited by Lieutenant Vincent for this expe- 
dition^ but with 100 men he was unable to do more 
than to maintain his post ; and that he did it so 
successfully great credit is due to him^ for he had 
many difficulties to contend ag-ainst : he is not to 
blame for having* been deputed^ or rather for having* 
volunteered to return to the hills, and attempt- 
ing* to bring' about what was considered highly 
hazardous and impracticable^ namely^ the capture 
of the fort of Kono-mah^ or the surrender of 
Nilholey and his clan. 

It has, however, been urg'ed that^ by Lieutenant 
Vincent's return to the hills, all further inroads on 
our villag-es were prevented. It is true, no ag-g-res- 
sions occurred after his return to the hills in 
March, but if he had not returned, it is very 

o 



194 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



doubtful whether any further inroads would have 
been attempted, as the season was far advanced, 
and the Nag-ahs at that season are g-enerally busily 
occupied in cultivating* their land. The expedi- 
tion, therefore, may be deemed uncalled for, and it 
put the Government to an enormous expense : the 
friendly clan of Mozo-mah mig-ht have been rein- 
stated in the ensuing- cold season, and the troops 
would have been saved much harassing* service 
and many privations, which they had to endure in 
an eight months' sieg'e from March till October. 

In this state of affairs, and seeing* there was not 
the slig-htest chance or hope of getting* the better 
of the enemy, on the 26th Aug*ust, Lieutenant 
Vincent wrote " I strong-ly recommend, therefore, 
that a force of not less than four or five hundred 
bayonets, accompanied by a g*un, should enter these 
hills as soon as the season will allow, in order that 
this hitherto successful rebellion may at once be 
broug'ht to an issue ; I would also recommend that 
the assistance of the Muneepoor g*overnment should 
be obtained in crushing* this hydra-headed rebellion." 

The failure of the eighth, and the severity of the 
ninth expedition, g*reatly exasperated the Nag-ahs, 
for previously to the last expedition, there were only 
160 warriors of Nilholey's clan, and 200 warriors 



TENTH EXPEDITION. 195 

of a portion of Kono-mah^ openly opposed to us ; 
but in Aug'ust^ 1850^ Lieutenant Vincent reports 
that the streng'th of the clans who were opposed to 
us in the attack on Kono-mah^ mig'ht be calculated 
as follows: — 

Warriors. 

Mozo-mah^ Chief Nilholey . . . 160 
Konomah^ Chief Pelhoo . . . 200 

Cheereh-mah 200 

J oshe-mah 300 

860 

In addition to the above, the following* villag-es 
are known to be hostile to us, and many others 
are secretly opposed to us, who inhabit every 
village throughout the hills : — 



Villages. Houses. 

Geeroo-mah 100 

Tijapa-mah 60 

Beephoo-mah 40 

Pherkekre-mah 50 

Tesheh-mah 700 

Kede-mah 300 

Kekre-mah 1,000 



Carried forward 



. 2,250 
o 2 



196 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Total houses broug"ht forward 2^250 
Warriors per house .... 2 

4,500 

Additional warriors in 1st list 860 
Total number of warriors . 5^360 

So that there was^ by this list^ not less than 5^360 
warriors arrayed ag*ainst us. 

Lieutenant Vincent says^ '^I have thought it 
necessary to enter at some length into the present 
posture of affairs^ as it is my opinion that^ unless 
an overwhelming- force is sent into these hills in 
the ensuing* cold season^ nothing- permanent will be 
effected.^^ Hitherto the Ag-ent to the Governor- 
General^ and the Government, imag-ined that 
Lieutenant Vincent had been most successful, and 
that the Nag-ahs w^ere on the point of submitting 
to our authority. This startling report, however, 
clearly showed the true state of affairs. The 
Agent to the Governor-General could no longer 
conceal his disappointment, and expressed his 
opinion that he had anticipated a different result. 
He acknowledged he was not prepared to see 
so large a force required at Mozo-mah, or to find 
Nilholey making so determined a resistance. The 



TENTH EXPEDITION. 



197 



Government was also surprised^ and expressed its 
displeasure. The delusion was at an end : Govern- 
ment immediately sanctioned the assembling* a 
larg*e force of 500 men^ under Major Foquett^ 
commanding- the Snd Assam Lig-ht Infantry^ with 
two three-pounder g"uns^ and two mortars^ to enter 
the country as soon as possible^ for the purpose 
of relieving- Lieutenant Yincent^ and capturing- 
the fort of Kono-mah. 

On the 24th September^ the Ag-ent to the Gover- 
nor-General warned me to prepare to conduct^ in 
the political department, the tenth expedition to 
the Ang-ahmee Nag-ah Hills ; but before I set out 
from Now-Gong*, orders were received from Go- 
vernment, that in the present state of affairs it 
was necessary that the Ag-ent to the Governor- 
General should himself proceed to the frontier, 
and, in some convenient position, personally con- 
duct the expedition. The Ag-ent to the Governor- 
General according-ly reached Dheemahpoor about 
the 18th of December, and remained there till the 
29th December. This order g-ave universal satis- 
faction, as for ten years past officers and troops 
had been harassed with annual useless expeditions 
to these hills. Captain Eeed of the Artillery, and 
Lieutenant Bivar of the Lig-ht Infantry, with a 



198 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



detachment of Lig-ht Infantr}^^ and two three- 
pounder g-uns^ proceeded to Mozo-mah in November; 
and in December^ having- collected 600 Coolies^ and 
despatched rice for the troops to Mozo-mah, I 
accompanied Major Foquett with a detachment 
and two mortars^ in progress to Mozo-mah, which 
place we reached on the 7th December^ after a 
harassing* march of forty miles from Dheemahpoor^ 
gTeatly impeded by difficulties we experienced in 
getting- the mortars conveyed over the hills. 

About eio'ht o'clock on the morninof of the 10th 
December, 1850^ the party enumerated below,* with 
two three-pounder g-uns, and two four -inch mor- 
tars, left Mozo-mah to capture the fort of Kono- 
mah. At two p. m. the mortars commenced firing* 
shells on the fort, at a distance of 600 yards, but 
owing* to a dense fog*, and the narrow ridg*e of the 
mountains on which the enemy's position was 
situated, the shells seemed to have little effect, 
falling* either short of, or beyond, the position. 
The two three-pounder g-uns were then advanced 
within 150 yards of the fort, to effect a breach 
in the barricade for the troops to enter, but the 

* One Major, one Captain, three Lieutenants, one Assistant- Sur- 
geon, one Sergeant, three Subadars, three Jemadars, seventeen 
Havildars, twenty Naicks, three Buglers, 281 Sipahees ; total, 354. 



TENTH EXPEDITION. 



199 



defences being* very strong-ly constructed of stone 
and timber, and not being' injured after many 
rounds of shot and canister had been expended^ 
the g-uns were advanced to within seventy yards. 
Still, as there appeared no hope of breaching- the 
barricade^ and the day was closing*^ the whole 
party advanced to escalade the position. On 
reaching* the defences^ a deep and wide trench 
stopped all further prog-ress; and as it was 
flanked at each end by an abrupt precipice^ and 
exposed to showers of spears_, musketry^ and stones^ 
the troops were obliged to retire to the spot where 
the g*uns first opened fire^ and there bivouacked 
for the night. It was extremely cold, and as 
they were without food^ water, or shelter^ the 
sufferings of all were very great. To prevent a 
surprise, a desultory fire was kept up during* the 
night on the enemy's position ; and on the morning* 
of the 11th, when the party rose to resume hostili- 
ties, the friendly Nag-ahs reported that the enemy 
had evacuated the fort, and our troops immediately 
took possession of it. 

Thus fell one of the strong^est forts ever seen in 
Assam, after a sieg-e of sixteen hours' duration. 
Our loss in wounded on this occasion consisted of 
two Havildars, three Naicks, one Bug'ler, and 



200 



TKAVELS IN ASSAM. 



twenty-five Sipahees^ and three Sipahees were 
killed. The mountains were covered with snow on 
the 12th, and the cold was extreme^ so much so^ 
that it was with difficulty the Sipahees could be 
prevented from leaving* the fort^ whilst it was 
being* dismantled : indeed many did go down to 
the valley below the fort, and were compelled to 
return. After the capture of the fort_, I wrote to 
the Ag-ent to the Governor-General as follows^ on 
the 17th December : — 

The experience of this expedition has shown 
very clearly the great difficulties that have to be 
encountered in carrying' on warfare in this woody 
and mountainous country. Unable to move with 
less than 600 Coolies^ if opposed, we should suffer 
serious loss without the possibility of being able 
to injure the enemy. I have used every means, 
therefore, to conciliate the Nagahs of those villag*es 
said to be friendly to us, and in return they have 
supplied us with rice, and assured me of their 
desire to be on friendly terms with us. At present 
I see no prospect of apprehending* Nilholey, or his 
followers ; and if they receive encouragement or 
assistance from the Muneepoor g*overnment, the 
contest may be prolonged for an indefinite period. 
The Government having* decided on not resuming* 



TEJNTH EXPEDITION. 



201 



Tooleeram's country^ we are deprived of all assist- 
ance from his people^ and our own population of 
Meekirs being- very scanty^ we shall be unable to 
continue to employ them in conducting* expeditions 
into the Ang-ahmee Nag'ah hills ; for^ rather than 
submit to this service^ I am persuaded they will 
leave the district, or be utterly ruined from not 
being- able to attend to their cultivation. 

In the present state of affairs I do not re- 
commend violent measures^ unless we are openly 
opposed. We have driven the enemy from his 
strong-hold^ and he must now be sensible of our 
power j and it is a question to be considered^ 
whether it would not be more advisable not to 
interfere with the internal affairs of the Nag-ahs, but 
to supply them freely with salt at Dheemahpoor^ 
and to maintain posts of the police^ militia^ and 
lig'ht infantry, at Dheemahpoor and Mohung- 
Dehooa^ for the protection of our frontier. 

If we establish a military post permanently in 
the Hills^ a European officer with civil power 
as superintendent of the Nag-ah hills^ on a salary 
of 1^000 rupees will be^ I conceive^ indispensable, 
and not less than 150 men would be safely left at 
Mozo-mah, besides a larg-e detachment, as a sup- 
port, at Dheemahpoor. 



202 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



^* By a defensive or olFensive policy our frontier 
is equally exposed to sudden inroads ; but to dis- 
ting-uish the guilty from the innocent is exceed- 
ingly difficulty and an indiscriminate destruction of 
Nag*ah villages cannot be contemplated — especially 
if we decide on retaining possession of the country 
— as we should^ by such a proceedings destroy our 
resources^ and have no claim on the Nagahs to 
supply us with rice^ but probably exasperate them 
to the commission of the most daring acts of atro- 
city and opposition to our measures." 

In company with Major Foquett^ I returned on 
the 25th December^ from Mozo-mah to Dheemah- 
poor^ when I was called on by the Agent to the 
Governor-General to give an opinion as to what 
measures were advisable to adopt in our future 
intercourse with the Angahmee Nagahs^ and 
the following suggestions were offered : — 

After mature consideration^ it appears to me 
that our endeavours for some years past to put 
down the internal feuds of the Nagah communi- 
ties have proved a complete failure. 1, therefore, 
beg leave to suggest that, for the future, we 
leave the Nagahs entirely to themselves, and 
wholly abstain from any interference with them. 
The guard posted at Mozo-mah in March last, 



TENTH EXPEDITION. 



203 



I would withdraw^ as soon as the wounded men 
can be removed with the mortars and guns. 
By this step, I am aware^ the Mozo-mah clan 
will be exposed to the veng-eance of the enemy. 
We are^ however^ not called on to support them 
or any other small clan^ or there would be no 
end to such a system : we ought not to side with 
any party. The Nag-ahs of Mozo-mah^ about 160 
warriors^ have been reinstated in their village, 
and the fortified post of the enemy at Kono-mah 
having been effectually destroyed, we can now 
withdraw our forces without its being mistaken for 
weakness. 

The Mozo-mah clan have no claim on us for 
special protection ; they called in Cacharees with 
muskets to fight against Nilholey, and the late 
Darogah Bhog-Chund, having taken their part, 
lost his life. There are many smaller villages than 
Mozo-mah which protect themselves, and, as you 
gave them muskets in February last, they are 
better off than many of their neighbours who are 
unprovided with fire-arms. 

It would be unsafe to leave a smaller detach- 
ment at Mozo-mah, than 150 men with a European 
officer invested with civil and military powers 3 and 
after past experience of all the difficulties to be 



204 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



surmounted; such a measure does not appear ad- 
visable : more particularly so, as the guard at 
Sumokhoo-Ting- has^ through the treachery of the 
Nag'ahS; been obliged to be withdrawn. 

To bring the Nagahs into complete subjection 
by permanently occupying the country, would^ as I 
have before reported^ involve the employment of at 
least a regiment of 500 men^ with several European 
officers^ gunSj and mortars ; and the enormous ex- 
pense attendant on such a measure^ besides the 
absolute necessity that would then follow of con- 
structing roads throughout the country to facilitate 
military movements^ leaves us no alternative but to 
adopt a strictly defensive policy for the future." 

The campaign being* now, as we supposed^ closed. 
Major Foquett reduced the force in the hills^ and 
made over the command to Captain Reed^ at Mo- 
zo-mah, to wait there till the final orders of Govern- 
ment were received as to the future management of 
the Angahmee Nagahs. Captain Reed reported on 
the 11th January^ that on the 9th he had been 
with a detachment of one Subadar^ three Havil- 
darS; two Naicks^ one Bugler^ and sixty-five 
Sipahees, with a band of Mozumah warriors^ to 
Joshe-mah; to procure rice and to seize a noted 
warrior^ who had fought against us on the 10th 



TENTH EXPEDITION. 



205 



December. Whilst they were in the villag-e of 
Joshe-mah, a band of Kohe-mah warriors in full 
war costume were discovered treacherously coming* 
towards them 5 but the Kono-mah Nag'ahs were so 
impatient to g-o out to fig-ht them^ that the Kohe- 
mahs took frig-ht and fled back to their own villag-e. 
The noted warrior being" sick, was found in a hut 
and carried off a prisoner to Mozo-mah^ and the 
detachment returned to Mozo-mah uninterrupted, 
althoug-h an alarm was g-iven that villages would 
come to the rescue. Captain Reed now thought it 
advisable to send down for a whole company of the 
2nd Assam Lig'ht Infantry from Golag'haut ; half 
the company to come to Mozo-mah, and the re- 
mainder to stay at Dheemahpoor, as he had only 196 
men at Mozo-mah. A further reason for more 
troops was, that a rumour was spread that 3,000 
Muneepoor troops were coming* to assist the Nag'ahs 
against us^ and to prevent the hostile clans uniting 
their forces, he proceeded to Kono-mah, in the hope 
that they might be induced to attack our force in 
the open field, which was greatly desired. 

Having been informed on the 21st January, 
1851, that a strong part}^ of the enemy were 
sheltered in the village of Poplongmaee, Captain 
Reed determined to make a night march to ap- 



206 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



prehend them; but owing- to the darkness of the 
night, when he reached the heights beyond Kono- 
mah, it was found impossible to get to Poplong- 
maee before daylight. He, therefore, bivouacked 
on the mountains all night, and after a tedious 
march the following day over hig*h mountains, 
about three o'clock at night they approached 
Poplongmaee ; but the enemy were fully aware of 
their movements, and ran away. Fines were 
imposed on the houses in which the enemy had 
been sheltered, and those who did not redeem 
their property had their houses burned. The 
troops stayed at Poplongmaee two da3^s, to allow 
of some rice being sent off to Mozo-mah. The 
night attack seemed to have instilled a wholesome 
dread of our vengeance into the minds of the 
people, if they sheltered the enemy. 

After this expedition. Captain Reed proceeded 
to the eastward with two three-pounders, one 
mortar, and 100 men, to visit a large village 
which had a short time ago sent a challenge, by 
demanding why the Sipahees did not come to 
fight them. On the 3rd February, the party 
reached Sassah-mah, where they heard that a man 
had been killed by the Nagahs of Kegue-mah. 
This village was visited in order to apprehend 



TENTH EXPEDITION. 



207 



the offender, and finding- it vacated, the houses 
of the elan concerned in the murder were burned 
to the g-round. After proceeding- a little further, 
they came on six villag*es called Sapheh-mah, inha- 
bited by a very rude people, who were ill-disposed 
towards us. Two of the villag-es came in and paid 
tribute, but the others declared they were ready 
to meet us with spear and shield; consequently, 
after halting- two days, and not being- able to get 
them to g-ive rice, a villag-e v^hich they had 
vacated was burned to the g-round, and notice 
was sent to the other clans that, if they did 
not come in, their villages would share the same 
fate. This had the desired effect, for early next 
morning- the heads of clans of the whole of the 
villag-es came in and inquired what tribute was 
required ; an ample supply of rice was then 
brought in for the troops. 

The Mozo-mah Nag-ahs understood but little of 
the lan^uag-e of the people to the eastward, and 
finding- g-reat difficulty in provisioning- the troops 
and transporting- the g'uns, Captain Eeed had 
resolved on not proceeding- to make further dis- 
coveries; but on the 5th February, two heralds 
came into camp from Kekre-mah, bearing- a chal- 
leng-e from the people to come and prove who 



208 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



had the greatest power in these hills^ they or 
our Government : the Muneepoories^ they said^ 
under Gumbheer Sing-h^ were afraid to fig-ht them, 
and we seemed afraid also. After seeing' our mus- 
kets and g-uns, they scornfully declared they did not 
care for onr (choong as) tubes: meaning- muskets. 

Your Sipahees are flesh and blood as well as 
we^ and we will fight with spear and shield, and 
see who are the best men : here is a specimen 
of our weapons/^ handing over a handsome spear. 
Their village was said to contain about 1,000 
houses, and they were dreaded by all around as 
a bloodthirsty people who think nothing of murder 
for the sake of plunder : they boosted of having 
a man in their village who had killed seventy men, 
the greater part of them probably murdered, and 
not killed in fair fight. 

As it would have had a most injurious effect 
to return to Mozo-mah without accepting the 
challenge of these people, for it would have been 
attributed to fear, Captain Keed determined at once 
to uphold the name and honour of the Government 
by accepting the challenge. He therefore told 
the messengers, that if they really wished to fight 
us, they would soon have an opportunity. Captain 
Reed was accompanied b}^ Lieutenant Vincent, but 



TENTH EXPEDITION. 



209 



hearing" that four other villag-es would join Kekre- 
mah^ the g-reatest caution was necessary. He, in 
consequence, sent to Mozo-mah for Lieutenant 
Campbell to join him with fifty men. On this 
officer coming* out, he had 150 muskets, two three- 
pounders, and a mortar, and about 800 friendly 
Nag'ahs to fight on our side with their spears. 

On the 9th February they were encamped at 
the villag'e of Kede-mah, about two miles from 
Kekre-mah, and observed the enemy very busy 
in making impediments on the path leading" to 
the village ; and so difficult and steep did the 
approach appear, that Captain Keed determined 
not to attack on the southern slope of the hill, 
but to ascend the mountain about a mile further 
north. On the 10th, therefore, a march was made 
to the village of Keg-o-mah, about two miles dis- 
tant, and the troops encamped near the river, 
which runs at the foot of the Kekre-mah Moun- 
tains, where they halted for the night. This move 
puzzled the enemy considerably, as they were 
uncertain at what part of the mountain the ascent 
would be made. The next morning-^ the 11th 
February, the troops nearly reached the top of 
the mountain without much molestation ; althoug"h 
an attack was attempted on the rearg-uard, and 

P 



210 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



one Coolie was wounded^ who died the following 
night. 

The advance g-uard, being urged on by the 
friendly Nagahs^ our allies^ got too much in 
advance ; but^ having secured a good position on 
a high piece of ground commanding the village^ 
their fire was most effective. The enemy were 
now hotly engaged with our friendly Nagahs^ 
fighting with the greatest desperation^ and in the 
heat of battle attempting to cut off the heads of 
the Nagahs as they killed them. The Sipahees 
of the 1st and 2nd Assam Light Infantry, how- 
ever^ soon drove them out of the village^ killing- 
and wounding many of them. The guns were 
fired^ which created the utmost consternation^ and 
the enemy fled in every direction, utterly discom- 
fited^ leaving 100 slain on the field of battle^ 
including many of their most noted warriors. The 
loss on our side was two Nagahs killed and six 
wounded^ and one camp follower killed and one 
wounded. We believe the above estimate of the 
loss of the enemy to be far under the truth. It 
is currently reported that about 300 Nagahs were 
killed and wounded upon this occasion ; and doubt- 
less many women and children were murdered by 
our ruthless barbarian allies^ who show no mercy 



FINAL RESULT. 



211 



in battle^ and delight in bloody warfare^ exter- 
minating- young" and old. Captain Reed states 
that it was not his wish to destroy the village; 
but, actuated by feelings of revenge, our Nagah 
auxiliaries set fire to it on all sides, and a strong 
wind blowing at the time, the greater part of the 
houses were soon destroyed, with a great quantity 
of grain. Only about six houses were saved in the 
centre of the village, in which the troops took 
shelter for the night. 

So determined and hostile were the enemy, that 
several times during the night they attempted 
to attack the troops, and it was found impossible 
to procure water for the troops during the night 
without great risk, the enemy lying in ambush in 
all directions. Even in the evening, when the 
Sipahees were on the alert, and when the mortar 
was being fired, a cook sitting close to it was 
wounded by a spear being thrown at him. The 
day after the battle, on the 12th, the troops re- 
turned to Kekre-mah, and met with no opposition 
on the way back to Mozo-mah. 

Thus fell Kekre-mah, after one of the most 
bloody battles ever fought in Assam. The Govern- 
ment considered the attack unavoidable, and most 
creditably conducted by Captain Reed ; but the 

p 2 



212 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



expedition itself seemed scarcely to have been 
called for^ and the burning* of empty houses was 
reg-arded as an unnecessary piece of severity. It 
was not deemed desirable that a post should be 
maintained at Mozo-mah^ and directions were given 
for the immediate withdrawal of all the troops from 
the Hills to Dheernahpoor ; beyond which no mili- 
tary force was to be maintained^ it being the wish 
of Government to abstain entirely and unreservedly 
from all concern or meddling with the feuds of the 
numerous savage tribes beyond our own fron- 
tier. Thus terminated the tenth expedition to the 
Angahmee Hagah hills, in March^ 1851. 



PART III. 



THE DISTRICT OF NOW-GONG. 



PART III. 



THE DISTRICT OF NOW-GONG. 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

Field-sports in Assam — Specimens of Assamese music— Assamese 
customs, &c. 

Fkom the vast extent of waste or jung-le land 
everywhere met with in Assam^ there are^ perhaps^ 
few countries that can be compared with it for 
affording' diversion^ of all kinds^ for the Eng-lish 
sportsman. A shikang* or sporting* elephant is in- 
dispensable ; and when seated on the animal's back 
in a well-secured howdah — a kind of square wooden 
tower containino' shelves for four double-barrel 
g-uns — all wild animals of the forest may be fear- 
lessly encountered and overcome. But the reader 
must not imag'ine a field-day in Assam unattended 
with danger^ or less exciting- than fox-hunting* • for 
at no time would it be safe or prudent to g-o alone 
on a solitary elephant^ to beat throug-h dense, high^ 
and almost impenetrable reed and ^rass jungle: 



216 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



thoug"h keen sportsmen frequently do so^ and enjoy 
excellent sport. 

To ensure success and avoid dang-er^ a party is 
g-enerally formed of from three to twenty elephants ; 
making- a g-rand line in this way^ tigers, buffaloes^ 
rhinoceroses, deer, and hog's^ are all beaten out of 
their lairs^ and can seldom escape death except 
by flig-ht. On many occasions^ buffaloes rush down 
with awful fury upon the nearest elephant^ when^ 
unless the sportsman happens to be an expert 
shot^ the elephant is generally gored and lace- 
rated in a frightful manner^ and the mahout or 
driver of the elephant not unfrequently severely 
injured. Sometimes the howdah, or tower^ is 
thrown off the elephant's back by the shock sus- 
tained from the buffalo's charge^ and the sports- 
man with his guns is hurled prostrate on the 
ground with the elephant. In this predicament 
nothing but the immediate assistance of another 
elephant prevents inevitable destruction. 

It is a noble sight to see the wild buffalo^ wounded 
and rendered furious^ his head armed with enormous 
horns, lowered to the ground^ rushing down with 
the speed of a cannon-ball upon the timid ele- 
phant; whO; however^ being well trained^ stands 
firm and receives the shock^ which is truly terrific ; 



FIELD SPORTS IN ASSAM. 



217 



the elephant^ if not knocked down^ is hurled back 
many yards by the violence and streng-th of the 
buffalo's charg'e. 

At firsts buffaloes that have long- been un- 
disturbed by the sound of a gun^ seem to court 
dang*er^ and proudly walk out to meet it^ fiercely 
pawing" the g-round and tossing' their heads ; but 
death-blows being* dealt out freely to their com- 
panionSj they become in time alarmed at the sight 
of the elephant and sportsman^ when their flig-ht is 
so rapid that it is no easy matter to come up with 
them. In Lower and Central Assam large herds 
of 100 buffaloes are frequently met with ; the 
devastations committed on the paddy fields is in- 
calculable^ and numbers of lives are annually lost 
from their attacks on the people. In one day's 
sport it is no uncommon event for three or four 
sportsmen to shoot thirty buffaloes^ twenty deer, 
and a dozen hogs^ besides one or two tigers. At 
times^ a tig'er^ being- surrounded by a field of ele- 
phants in a small .patch of high grass, shows 
great sport ; for as often as he is beaten up by the 
elephants, he turns round and with a tremendous 
roar rushes across the plain towards the nearest 
one, and jumps upon its head or stern ; the 
elephant then becomes dreadfully alarmed, and 



218 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



screeches out in the most terrific manner, shaking- 
its body with all its power, to free itself from 
the claws of the enrag-ed monster clinging- to 
it. In this predicament the sportsman is help- 
less^ as from the violent motion of the elephant, 
all he can do is to hold fast to the howdah, for 
if thrown out, he would be torn to pieces; but a 
skilful sportsman, on perceiving- the tig-er's approach 
towards his elephant, will g-enerally stop the rapid 
charg-e of the tig'er by one or two well-directed 
shots, which will either prove fatal, or so cripple 
the beast as to render his efforts to charge futile. 

Few elephants can be brought to stand repeated 
charg-es of a tiger ; if the sportsman fail to shoot 
the tiger in the first charg-e, the elephant in- 
stinctively seems to lose confidence, and no exer- 
tions on the part of the mahout can induce the 
elephant a^ain to encounter the dang-er of a 
second charge, by advancing- to beat up the tig-er 
concealed in the g-rass : a tig-er's charge is always 
desperately fierce, and seldom met without making- 
its pursuers feel the power of its fang-s and claws, 
and causing- sometimes fatal accidents. 

Not less exciting- is the rhinoceros hunt. This 
animal is found in the highest and most dense 
reed jungle, generally near a river, or Bheel 



FIELD SPORTS IN ASSAM. 



219 



lake, in a very miry place. The squeaking- grunt 
of this beast is peculiarly sharp and fierce^ and 
the elephants become so alarmed that few wait 
its approach in the shape of a charg-e^ but mostly 
quit the field with the utmost speed, scarcely 
g-iving- the sportsman time to have a shot. If 
the rhinoceros succeeds in overtaking* the elephant, 
it inflicts terrible wounds on the haunches of the 
latter with its mouth, and with the horn on its 
nose endeavours to rip up the belly of the elephant. 
Of all the animals of the forest, the rhinoceros 
is most feared, from its destructive powers ; and, 
as it possesses an enormously thick skin, it re- 
quires a g'ood g-un or rifle to bring* it down. 
Nevertheless, we have known several rhinoceroses 
killed with one ball, if hit in a vital part ; other- 
wise, as with the buffalo, ten or fifteen balls may 
be fired without effect. The rhinoceros is found 
in every part of Assam. 

The most pleasant sport in Assam is deer shoot- 
ing : all kinds are found in g-reat numbers, and in 
open plains many may be killed in a day. Black 
partridges, and the common g'ray partridg-e, are 
plentiful, and a few quail and hares may be 
found; but they cannot be pursued on foot, as 
they lie in the densest and most impenetrable 



220 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



jungles. An elephant is indispensable^ and but 
few sportsmen are steady enoug-h in a howdah 
to bag" many head of game in a day. 

Assam is so intersected by rivers, that the 
Assamese prefer moving" about in their little 
canoes to travelling* by land ; the Dooms 
or Nudeals (watermen) seem greatly to enjoy 
themselves on these boat trips^ for they are 
always singing songs as they paddle along. A 
facetious friend has felicitously given me the 
following version of one of these boat songs 
universally sung throughout the province : — 
ASSAMESE BOAT SONG, 
Recitative, p I 

bi--q-q-q-jzpz:1=rirdz|:j=ij=j=ii_LjU-J-J^^ 



Keep the boithas cheerly going, Rough and fierce the river's flowing^ 



Chorus, f 

E 2 ^,_|_j_^L^_,_, ^ g ol-"- 



Ram bol, hur - ry bol, hur - ry bol, 





* V ! 















" Keep the boithas cheerly going ; 
Rough and fierce the river's flowing, 

Ram bol, Hurry bol. Hurry bol Aee. 



SPECIMENS OF ASSAMESE MUSIC. 



221 



" See ! the sun is fast declining, 
To the moon his charge resigning, 

Ram bol, Hurry bol, Hurry bol Aee. 
" Pull away, boys, nothing fearing. 
Though the rapids we are nearing, 

Ram bol. Hurry bol. Hurry bol Aee. 
" In the well -plied oar confiding, 
Safely o'er them we are gliding, 

Ram bol. Hurry bol, Hurry bol Aee. 
" Keep her clear that granite block there, 
See, she nears the sunken rock there. 

Ram bol. Hurry bol. Hurry bol Aee. 
"Now the threatened danger's over. 
Nothing from her course shall move her, 

Ram bol. Hurry bol. Hurry bol Aee. 
" Soon we'll make the ghat, my hearties ! 
Spend the night in jovial parties, 

Ram bol, Hurry bol. Hurry bol Aee." 

For the amusement of my fair readers, I 
have also added other specimens of Assamese 
harmony. 



AN ASSAMESE AIR. 



Rowing Time. 



Fin£. 



1 



Shades of night are fal - ling fast, 



P 



puU 



P 



way, 



he 



D. a 



puU 



way, 



he 



r — * — ^ 



222 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



" Shades of night are falling fast — pull away, eh, hey ; 

All our toil will soon be past — pull away, eh, hey. 
" Round Thamlya's point we steer— pull away, eh, hey ; 

See the Puckah Ghat appear — pull away, eh, hey. 
" Strike together for your lives — pull away, eh, hey, 

Towards our sweethearts and our wives — pull away, eh, hey. 
" First we smoke the fragrant weed — pull away, eh, hey, 

Morpheus then will slumbers speed — pull away, eh, hey. 
" We must work if we would live— pull away, eh, hey ; 

Sahib will our backshish give — pull away, ey, hey." 

SONG. 

Lively^ 

Come and join this mer - ry round, 







^ ^ P 








k— 




~ft — t — itz 





Trip- ping o - ver Cu - pid's ground. Ram, Krish-na, 



hur - ry, Ram, Krish - na, hur - ry i 

" Come and join this merry round, 
Tripping over Cupid^s ground, 
Ram, Krishna, Hurry. 
" Dance and sing we all night long, 
This shall be the only song. 

Ram, Krishna, Hurry. 
" Love and music all the theme. 
Till the ruddy morning beam. 

Ram, Krishna, Hurry. 
" Let the ruddy morn arrive. 
It shall but our song revive. 

Ram, Krishna, Hurry. 



ASSAMESE CUSTOMS. 



223 



" Aided by the solar ray, 
Blithe we'll sing throughout the day, 
Ram, Krishna, Hurry. 

" Let the shadow upwards tend ; 
Let the weary sun descend ; 
Still our song shall find no end ! 

Ram, Krishna, Hurry." 

The character of the Assamese cannot be better 
illustrated^ than by noticing- some of their customs. 
In former times^ none but the nobility^ the Boorah 
Gohain^ Bur Patra Gohain, Bur Gohain^ who 
formed the chief council of the king-dom^ were 
permitted to wear shoes; and to this day the 
Assamese strictly adhere to the custom^ for shoes 
are not worn by the lower classes throug'hout 
the country. 

The rig'ht or title to ride in a palkee or dola 
was, in ancient times, only enjoyed by the nobles, 
and they had to pay for the honour of being- per- 
mitted to ride in such a conveyance 1,000 rupees 
(100/.) to the Bajah. A short time since, a native 
judg-e, on being- asked why he did not use a palkee, 
replied, Any one may now ride in a palkee ; 
in former days, when we paid 1,000 rupees to ride 
in a palkee or dola, then there was some dig-nity 
in being thus conveyed, and none but men of rank 
were entitled to this privilege." 



224: 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



In the reign of Komlessur^ king* from 1794 a.d. 
to 1809 A.D.^the Boora Gohain, or prime minister^ 
established the practice of having* all the Dooms or 
fishermen marked on the forehead with the sig-n of 
a fish^ pricked into the skin with the juice of 
the bela nut^ which is indelible. There was a 
Burrah or chief appointed to enforce the custom^ 
and the fee received by him was four annas for 
every person thus stamped. No fisherman could 
decline receiving* the mark^ but all were required 
to submit to the operation ; even in the present 
day there are fishermen still living* in the Now- 
Gong* district^ bearing- the sig-n of a fish on their 
foreheads. 

The origin of this barbarous custom is said to 
have been as follows : — On the occasion of some 
g-rand festival or meeting* of Hindoos^ a fisherman 
had accidentally been present ; and^ in consequence, 
the whole of the Hindoos had become contaminated^ 
or lost castC; and purachit atonement was necessary. 
This^ however^ they thoug*ht could be avoided by 
making* the fisherman a Hindoo^ by allowing* him 
to touch their foodj but the circumstance reaching* 
the Boora Gohain's ears, he directed the whole 
party to be instantly marked with the sig*n of a fish 
on the forehead. Another current story is^ that 



ASSAMESE CUSTOMS. 



225 



the custom was established to prevent the mixture 
of different castes^ which it was supposed would 
ensure the stability of the respectable classes^ and 
their complete separation from any intercourse with 
the lower orders. 

The class termed horees or sweepers were sub- 
ject to a similar deg'rading' mark; all of this grade 
being' stamped with the sig-n of a broom on the 
forehead. The king-'s khell or clan of doolee or 
palkee bearers were also disting-uished by having- 
the sig'n of the kekooree dola, a kind of palkee, 
pricked into the skin of the rig'ht arm. To ensure 
the separation of the different low classes from 
the hig'her orders^ another striking* distinction 
was enforced : neither moossulmen, fishermen, 
sweepers, nor braziers, were permitted to wear 
loiig- hair. The dooms or fishermen of the present 
day not bearing* the mark of a fish on their 
forehead, are hig'hly displeased at being- called 
by that name; they consider it a disg-race or 
insult, and insist on being called nuddeals, or 
watermen, which title in their estimation is 
more honourable. In numerous wa3^s the nobility 
and respectable classes raised up insuperable bar- 
riers to secure their distinction and separation 
from the meaner castes. No person of low birth 

Q 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



could wear the chudder or sheet usually thrown 
over the hody as a covering'^ except it was folded 
on the left shoulder and not on the rig"ht. 

Their superstition is likewise apparent in their 
never cutting* bamboos on a Saturday or Tuesday, 
supposing- it to be unfortunate, and that the stems 
of the bamboo so cut will dry up and not shoot 
out ag'ain. A not uncommon custom prevalent in 
Assam^ is to effect a marriag-e ag-ainst the consent 
of parents. Every year in the month of April the 
Behoo festival takes place; this being- kept up 
with music^ dancing*, and rejoicing-, and lasting- 
seven days, all classes are particularly fond of 
being* present on this occasion. An unfortunate 
youth having- failed to secure the consent of the 
parents of the girl he has selected to be his wife, 
then has recourse to a stratag-em to effect his 
object. He lays wait in the road till the damsel 
passes by to the fair or festival with her female 
relatives, when, with the aid of his companions, 
he carries off the feig*ning- reluctant bride, and 
immediately marries her privately ; when in a few 
days the parents are oblig-ed to be reconciled and 
consent to a public marriag-e. 

During the Assam dynasty, this offence was 
punished with some severity ) the offending- youth 



ASSAMESE CUSTOMS. 



227 



receiving" forty stripes with a leathern strap on his 
naked back. The season of the Behoo, or spring* 
festival^ however^ has always been claimed by the 
female sex as a period of considerable license ; and 
the exercise of their freedom within that period 
does not seem to be attended with any stain, 
blemish, or loss of reputation. When the day of 
marriag-e has been fixed on, the brideg-room and 
bride are both bathed daily for five or three days 
before marriag*e by the females of the family, who 
bring" two pots of water from the river^ morning* 
and evening, and throw it over them : excepting* on 
Saturdays and Tuesdays ; on which days one pot 
only is thrown over the bride and brideg-room^ as 
these days are consecrated and unlucky, being- 
called after the planets, Mars and Saturn. 

If the funeral obsequies of parents be not per- 
formed^ children cannot marry till they are. Neither 
can a young-er brother marry before the elder, 
unless the elder brother g-ives in writing" his per- 
mission to his young-er brother; after which the 
elder cannot marry, as he is considered to have 
renounced all worldly connection : or if he does 
marry he is not associated with by his family, and 
is deemed an outcast or excommunicated. This 
custom, however, is not strictly adhered to in 

Q 2 



228 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



Assam : I have known instances to the contrary 
unattended with these consequences. The priest 
was bribed and the community feasted^ when the 
elder brother was permitted to marry after his 
young-er brother. 

If a man dies inside a house^ no Hindoo can eat 
in it afterward, or reside in it, as it has become 
impure ; it is g'enerally pulled down and burned, 
and a new house erected on the same spot. All 
Assamese when dying- are, therefore, invariably 
broug-ht out to die in the open air on the bare 
ground, that the building* may be preserved ; and 
also to ensure the happier liberation of the spirit 
from the body. 

The general mode of fighting* is abuse with g-ross 
foul languag-e, 'pulling* the hair, and striking* with 
the elbow, not with clenched fist. If a man has 
his hair pulled in a quarrel he is dishonoured ; 
he must shave off his long* locks immediately, 
and obtain purachit absolution from the priest by 
paying* him a sum of money and g*iving' a feast to 
the community ; as he is excommunicated, and not 
considered a member of the society till the cere- 
mony of purachit atonement has been performed. 

There are many kinds of slaves in Assam, dis- 
tinguished by distinct appellations. The Moorukea 



ASSAMESE CUSTOMS. 



229 



is a kind of chapunea^ neither servant^ slave^ nor 
equal^ but partaking- of all. The master provides 
the Moorukea with a pair of bullocks and a ploug-h^ 
and he tills his master's land for two days. On the 
third day the Moorukea may ploug-h his own g-round 
with his master's bullocks and ploug-h. If he does 
not take his reward or wages thuS; by using- his 
master's cattle and implements of husbandry^ he 
is a perfect slave^ lives in his master's house_, is 
constantly fed and worked^ and receives a share of 
the produce. 



230 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The district of Now- Gong. 

In Julj^ 1833^ the district of Now-Gong* was 
separated from Durrung*^ and distinct civil esta- 
blishments were sanctioned for carrying* on busi- 
ness in the civil^ criminal^ and collectors' courts. 

The boundaries of the district are formed^ on the 
east^ by the Dhunseeree and Deeyong* rivers^ and 
an undefined^ unexplored^ tract of country occupied 
by Ang-ahmee Nag-ahs ^ on the west^ by the Mong-ah 
of Desh Cumooreah in the Kamroop district ^ the 
Burrumpooter on the north ; and on the south^ 
by Jynteea^ and the Tyting-ah river in Northern 
Cachar^ and a hig-h range of mountains separating- 
Now-Gong' from Muneepoor. Within this boun- 
dary the number of square miles in the whole 
district amounts to 8^712. 

The head-quarters of the Zillah of Now-Gong- 
have been removed to three different places since 



THE DISTRICT OF NOW-GOIS^G. 231 

it became a substantive division. It was first 
established by Lieutenant Rutherford in July 
1833, at Pooranah Godoun, in the midst of the 
villag-e of Meekir Hatt, on the left bank of the 
river Kullung-^ eig-ht miles east of the present 
station; but this was g-iven up in May^ 1835^ on 
account of the site being- confined^ and so densely 
inhabited that there was no spare land to admit of 
public building's being' erected^ except by the re- 
moval of the Byutts. The second station selected 
was E;Ung;g'ag*ura ; but this was found to be 
unhealthy^ and not sufficiently central for the 
convenience of the people resorting* to the courts 3 
therefore^ in June^ 1839, the third and present sta- 
tion of Now-Gong- was selected^ on the left bank of 
the Kulluno' river. Now-Gonof is likewise called 
Kug-g^reejan (Reed stream)^ from the name of a 
small stream which has forced its way out of 
the Kullung- river, a little above the station^ on 
the opposite bank, and passing- throug-h Taleea 
Gown to the Roopohee river. 

Now-Gong", it will be admitted^ ^^j^^ys as pretty 
a circle of carriag-e roads as any zillah in Assam. 
The road, winding* along* the banks of the Moree 
Kullung" lake, is particularly picturesque, passing- 
beautiful gardens, cultivated fields, and innumer- 



2S2 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



able hamlets^ which evince the comfort and pro- 
sperity of the inhabitants. The road to Deemoo- 
roog'ooree^ east of the stations^ and leading- on to 
Belog"ooree^ which is nine miles distant^ presents 
at all times an animated scene^ as the land is 
in a state of hig-h cultivation^ and the whole 
country seems studded with barrees, or g-ardens^ 
and flourishing- villag-es. An extensive hund road 
protects and secures the entire front of the station 
from annual deep inundations 5 but^ notwithstanding- 
this precaution^ as the soil is sandy^ the water 
percolates throug-h the bund-roads^ and inundates 
the land : a common occurrence in Assam. At 
Now-Gong-^ nearly half the station is a sheet of 
water ; and it cannot well be otherwise^ as the 
station is low and full of hollo ws^ or channels of 
the beds of rivers or streams that have taken other 
courses. Some little money has been expended on 
improvements by Government^ but a vast deal 
remains to be done before Now-Gong- can have any 
pretension to rank hig-h in point of salubrity. 

The public building-s at Now-Gong- include a 
kacherry or court., a handsome and spacious edi- 
fice^ in which the principal assistant in charg-e 
of the district^ a junior assistant^ a sub-assistant^ a 
sudder ameen and moonsifF (the native judg-es)^ 



THE DISTEICT OF NOW-GONG. 233 

conduct business in the judicial^ mag'isterial^ and 
revenue departments. A new brick g-aol and 
circuit house have likewise been constructed^ and 
a brick thannoh and a record office were erected 
in 1845-46. There are two g-hats on the river^ 
and a stupendous bridg-e on saul posts over the 
Kullung' river^ 202 yards long", 30 feet hig-h^ 
and 16 feet wide^ was erected by the mag-istrates 
in 1847. In the same year, the mag"istrates 
likewise erected a most substantial churchyard- 
wall of brick^ 150 feet square. This was much 
required^ as the sight of the exposed Christian 
g-raves in a heathen land^ daily desecrated by the 
natives^ and apparently utterly neg-lected and un- 
cared for by Europeans^ was discreditable, and 
led to unfavourable impressions of their rulers 
being- formed by the Assamese. There are seven 
private bung'alows^ three of brick^ and four of lath 
and plaster^ occupied by the principal assistant^ 
junior assistant^ sub-assistant^ apothecary^ and 
missionaries. 

Althoug-h Now-Gong- is reg-arded by many as 
one of the hottest and most unhealthy stations 
in Assam^ some years' experience proves it to 
be as salubrious^ if not more so^ than any other 
station in Assam. It is allowed that^ at times. 



234 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



the heat is very oppressive^ and fevers of the 
most malig-nant kind prevail throug-hout the 
district; some parts of which cannot he visited 
in any season of the year by Europeans, 
without dang-er of being- prostrated by the 
deadly malaria of the dense, damp forests, and 
miry reed jungles. The diseases common at 
Now-Gong", are described in the following* extract 
from the medical annual report of JN^ow-Gong*, 
made in 1843, by Mr. Apothecary Simons : — 

The climate of the station, throug-h its situation 
on an open plain removed from the vicinity of the 
hills, is from all accounts salubrious ; but, as the 
chang-es in the atmosphere and the periodical 
winds and rainy season are the same as are 
experienced in the whole valley of Assam, it 
cannot differ very materially in point of healthi- 
ness from any of the adjoining' districts. The 
prevailing diseases appear to be dysentery, 
diarrhoea, fever, spleen, seqwala of fever and 
rheumatism, and ulcers. Dysentery attacks all 
classes of the population, especially those in 
the habit of making* use of opium. The convicts 
in the g'aol appear to be the principal sufferers ; 
owing", probably, to the disuse of opium while 
incarcerated, and other depressing* causes depen- 



THE DISTRICT OF NOW-GONG. 285 

dent on confinement. Diarrhoea is the next 
disease which produces such g'reat mortality 
among-st the population and prisoners. It is 
also produced by the same causes as dysentery, 
with this exception, that it is more dependent 
on atmospherical changes and the use of in- 
digestible and crude food. Fevers of the inter- 
mittent type are the most common, combined 
with affections of the spleen, and frequently 
run on to dysentery and diarrhoea. Remittent 
fevers are not very common, attacking- but few 
of the natives. In Europeans, the disease, being- 
always accompanied with determination to the 
brain, generally proves fatal ; and in them it is 
only produced by exposure in the surrounding- 
country and vicinity of marshes. Eheumatism 
attacks but few, and is generally prevalent during 
the rainy and cold season. Ulcers are produced 
amongst the convicts by the chafing of the irons. 
The endemic disease of this district is bronchoule, 
by which one-third of the population is affected ; 
and it attacks even the residents, who are not 
natives of Assam. It seems apparently to be 
confined to females and males of lax fibre and of 
a cachectic disposition of body. The cause of 
the disease is principally owing to the use of 



236 



TRAVELS m ASSAM. 



stagnant water^ and residing- in villag-es which 
are in the vicinity of extensive marshes. 

^^The monthly average range of the ther- 
mometer in a brick bungalow in 185 1^ taken by 
the medical officer of Now-Gong^ is shown by 
the following table. 

July^ August^ and September^ are the hottest 
monthS; and from a number of years' experience 
we can state that^ generally^ the range of the 
thermometer is from 86° to 92° in those months. 
The fall of rain^ likewise^ varies from sixty to 
eighty inches in the year." 



Monthly average range of the thermometer for 1851. 


Number of inches of rain by the 
thermometer in each month 
of 1851. 




Maximum. 


Medium. 


Minimum. 




In. 


Deg. 


January 1851 .. 


67 


65 


64 


January 1851 . . 








February „ . . 


72 


66 


61 9 


February „ . . 


2 


85 


March „ . . 


75 I 


74 9 


68 7 


March „ .. 


2 


10 


April „ .. 


78 20i 


77 25i 


72 9i 


April „ . . 


8 


55 


May „ ... 


81 30 


80 6 


76 23 


May 


8 


85 


June „ . . 


82 28 


81 20 


80 6 


June „ . . 


17 


50 


July „ .. 


85 10 


84 22 


82 6 


July „ . 


7 


35 


August „ . . 


85 13i 


85 5 


82 21 


August ,,. . . 


22 


20 


September,, . . 


85 6 


84 6 


81 15 


September,, . . 


4 


65 


October „ . . 


82 14 


81 13 


76 20 


October „ 


7 





November,, . . 


75 1 


73 26 


66 24 


November „ . . 





40 


December „ . . 


71 7 


68 18 


59 20 


December „ . . 


2 













Total inches . . 


83 


45 



To facilitate the fiscal management of the dis- 
trict^ it is divided into twelve mehals or sections, 



THE DISTRICT OF NOW-GOI\'G. 237 

and the revenue settlements are made with 278 
mong-ahs. The gross land revenue for 1851-52 
was 1^54^800 rs. 12 as. 3 p., and net revenue 
1,28^985 rs. 4 as. 5 p.* Each poorah of aland is 
considered equal to an Eng'lish acre and a quarter^ 
which is taxed at different rates ; the land on the 
plains^ being' the 1st class^ at 1 r. 4 as. per poorah ; 
all other kinds or qualities at 14 as. per poorah. 
In the Hills^ hoes are taxed at 1 r. 2 as. each, 
and where the hoe tax is not in force — among-st 
the Hill tribes of Nagahs, Kookies^ and Cacharees 
— houses are taxed at 8 as. and 1 r.^ and the 
Meekirs at 2 rs. 4 as. per house/ for any quantity 
of land cultivated. Fisheries are sold to heads of 
villages at so much for the lake or pond for the 
year. The community are allowed to fish in all 
small ponds and g-rates, and no pond is let for less 
than 20 rs. In no part of India is the rent so low 
as in Assam^ and the fertility and productiveness 
of the soil cannot be disputed. 

Every Mozah^ or village, is held by a Mong-ah- 
dar, or chief of the community, who receives 12 rs. 
8 as. per cent, on the amount collected from his 
mong'ahs, for the trouble of collecting* the revenue 
from each ryutt, or peasant, and paying* it into 

* See Tables in Appendix. 



2SS 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



the collector's treasury. The Mongahdar is assisted 
in this labour by a kaguttee^ or village accountant, 
who measures the land and keeps accounts of 
the ryutts, or peasants, of the extent and kinds 
of land occupied by each ryutt, and the amount 
of revenue to be paid by him yearly ; and each 
ryutt is furnished with a pottah of this account : 
that is, a statement of the quantity and kind of 
land in his possession, and the amount of revenue 
he has to pay annually. This statement, being- 
signed by the collector, forms the ryutt's title- 
deeds, or right of possession to his land, and is a 
check on the Mongahdar, if he collects more than 
the amount at which the ryutt is assessed. The 
village kagutty received 2 rs. 8 as. per cent, on 
the revenue collected, as a remuneration for his 
duties. A ticklah, or peon, is also allowed to 
assist the Mongahdar in summoning the ryutts to 
pay him their revenue. One ticklah is sanctioned 
for every 500 rupees of revenue, whose remune- 
ration is 6 rs. per annum. 

The quantity of land granted in this district, 
for charitable and religious endowments, denomi- 
nated lakhiraj land, amounts to 21,065 ps. s. 2 ks. 
18^ 1. Out of this large tract of land, only 6,073 p. 
1 s. 4 ks. 16 Is. are under cultivation, assessed at 



THE DISTRICT OF NOW-GONG. 239 

half the khiraj or full rates. The remainder, 
14,491 ps. 2 ds. 3 ks. 2 Is., is waste or jungle land. 
These grants have been sanctioned in thirty-two 
decrees, eight on the production of the customary 
copperplates of the ancient kings of Assam, and 
twenty- four on oral testimony. 

The population of the district is estimated by 
Captain Butler, Principal Assistant-Commander, 
at 248,965 persons, exclusive of Angahmee and 
Rengmah Nagahs, amounting to 104,140. 

In different parts of the district, Government 
has established fourteen vernacular schools for 
the instruction of the Assamese population ; 836 
scholars are registered in the school, and the 
average daily attendance is 608. The expense of 
the schools amounts to 1,600 rs. per annum. The 
proficiency attained by the boys at these institu- 
tions is very low indeed ; few stay longer than is 
sufficient to enable them to read and write a 
common petition and a little arithmetic, with a 
slight knowledge of surveying in use in Assam. 
When their education is, in their own opinion^ 
complete, they are qualified to become village 
kaguttees, or writers. 

One of the greatest impediments to the advance- 
ment of education in Assam, is the indifference 



240 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



with which it is received by the respectable classes. 
They show no wish whatever to see the rising* 
g'eneration educated, or made wiser than them- 
selves : in fact^ I am half inclined to believe that, 
if the hig'her classes could prevent the youth of 
Assam from being* instructed^ they would not 
hesitate to do so. The supineness and indifference 
of the most influential men in the district^ the 
Bishoyahs^ or Mongahdars^ can scarcely be ima- 
gined^ except by those in personal and constant 
intercourse with them. They seldom visit the 
schools, and when required to repair or build a 
school-house^ they deem it a kind of oppression : 
it is^ indeed^ lamentable to witness the lukewarm- 
ness of the native gentry of Assam in regard to 
education. To this cause chiefly, and to the fact 
that the only disaffected subjects of Government are 
in the want of efficient schoolmasters, can be justly at- 
tributed the circumstance that no g-reater progress 
has been made in instructing the youth of Assam. 

Another great obstacle to the spread of know- 
ledge throughout Assam, is the influence of the 
priesthood, who employ most oppressive modes 
of keeping' the people in subjection to them- 
selves, through gross ignorance and superstition. 
Although the priests are interdicted from collecting 



THE DISTRICT OF NOW-GONG. 241 

more than the Government-rate of Khh-aj land^ 
there is little doubt but that twice that amount is 
exacted : indeed the Eyutts are mere slaveS; and 
oblig-ed to be at the call of the Udheekary or chief 
priest, for any service he thinks proper to com- 
mand. So g'reat is the oppression of these priests, 
that nearly two-thirds of their grants are per- 
fectly waste. It would be well if their tyranny 
was confined to exacting- the utmost of the produce 
of the land the E;3^utts can give ; but this is not 
all. They demand fromthe Ryutts^ on a variety 
of pleas^ Bag'ee Khurcha^ or Hath Khurch 
money^ to defray present necessities ; Burg-onee^ 
a general tax; Mag'unee, or free gifts of dhan^ 
sursoo, oil^ and rice; Morecha^ or fees on mar- 
riage ; and Sulamee^ or presents on appointing their 
servants to conduct the fiscal duties of the shustro 
land. 

The Udheekary^ or chief priest^ likewise exer- 
cises the power of excommunication for civil of- 
fences ; and; until the offenders pay a heavy fine 
and receive purachit absolution^ they are ex- 
chided from society and are perfect outcasts : no 
one daring to associate, or to eat^ or drink with 
them^ or to lend them any assistance whatever. 
Rather, therefore; than incur the displeasure of 

R 



24:2 TRAVELS IJN ASSAM. 

the chief priest^ the Ryutts will submit to almost 
any oppression that can be imag'ined. 

The very g-reat consideration shown to these 
priests, by allowing" them such an extent of country 
on one-half Khiraj rates^ would; from any other 
class of men^ have called forth the utmost grati- 
tude 5 but the reverse is the case with these in- 
satiate priests. Thoug-h they had lost everything 
under the Burmese rule^ and on the British con- 
quest acquired g-rants to which they had lost all 
title or claim^ yet they may truly be said to be 
the only disaffected subjects of Government in the 
plains of Assam. The priests, in shorty may be 
considered the g-reatest impediment we have to 
contend with^ in enlightening the rising genera- 
tion. Possessed of great power over the minds 
of the people, bigoted, ignorant^ and avaricious, 
they do not promote, in the smallest degree^ 
through the means at their disposal, the education 
of the people. 



FUTURE PKOSPECXS OF NOW-GONG. 243 



CHAPTER XV. 

The future prospects of the Now- Gong district. 

The district of Now-Gong-, being* intersected by 
numerous rivers and streams^ all more or less 
navig'able for many months in the year^ is thus 
rendered particularly well adapted for commerce. 
The soil is rich ; it abounds in fine forests of 
sawl timber in Dantipar^ with this advantage over 
other parts of Assam^ that from no point has the 
timber to be conveyed a g*reater distance than four 
miles to a navig-able stream. Coal also has been 
met with in several places^ thoug-h it has not yet 
been thoroug-hly examined as to extent or quality ; 
but mines will doubtless be worked to supply 
steamers ere long*. Limestone is found in abundance 
in Northern Cachar ; but it has not yet been burned 
in any quantity. 

The staple products of the district are rice, 
mustard-seed, cotton, silk, lac, wax, sug*ar, treacle, 
ivory, and opium. 

E 2 



S44 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



In 1847; there were 2^426 poorahs of land cul- 
tivated with opium ; and, calculating that a poorah 
of land 3delds 10 seers of cotton cloth saturated 
with kanee or opium^ the annual produce was 
606 maunds 20 seers^ which is equal to 48^520 lbs. 
Valuing" it at the average rate of 5 rs. per seer, 
the Ryutts realized from the sale of opium 
1;21;300 rs. There is no article of commerce 
sought after with such intense avidity in Assam 
as kanee or opium ; and its baneful effects can only 
be appreciated by those who witness the degene- 
racy of the people. It is consumed by all classes, 
high and low, rich and poor, old and young, men, 
women, and even children ; and its consumption is 
limited only by the purse or means of the opium 
eater. It is affirmed that the ecstatic delight of 
the confirmed opium eater is so great that he 
cannot, or would not for all the world, forego his 
daily dose of the pernicious drug ; and we know of 
no instance of a person having relinquished the 
habit, who had once been enslaved. 

Two-thirds of the population are addicted to the 
use of opium, and the tendency to the increase 
of crime, consequent thereon, must be admitted. 
When individuals are brought up before the magis- 
trate, charged with larceny and burglary, nine out 



OPIUM-EATERS IN NOW-GONG. 245 

of ten invariably state that they committed the 
crime to procure opium. No extra tax is levied 
on opium ; but there is little doubt but that if a 
heavy tax were imposed on its cultivation^ the drug" 
would not be raised to such an extent^ and con- 
sequently the price would be greatly enhanced; 
so that the Byutts could not afford to purchase it. 
The richer classes would then enjoy the luxury^ 
while the mass of the people being- gradually 
weaned from the habit by the increased taxation 
on opium; would; probably, in the course of time 
give it up altogether. Opium is now sold to the 
people by Government ; but; unless a high tax be 
imposed on the cultivation of opium in Assam, its 
consumption will not diminish: when it can only 
be procured by purchase; the people will learn to 
do w^ithout it; or a much smaller quantity than 
they now grow in the gardens will be consumed. 

In no district in Assam are the people in more 
prosperous circumstances than in Now-Gong*. 
RicC; their common food; is cheap and abundant 5 
numerous rivers and lakes afford a plentiful supply 
of fish ; their gardens furnish vegetables and fruit ; 
and the climate rendering* but little clothing* 
necessary; with a trifling* revenue to pay; they 
have every reason to be satisfied and contented , 



246 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



and; I belie ve^ they are grateful for the protection 
of the British Government. 

With all these advantages^ however^ they are a 
licentious, degraded race^ and appear degenerating* 
rapidly. Numbers of children die annually^ and 
the period of their existence seems diminishing. 
Few adults attain old age^ and we almost despair 
of the population increasing'^ or of their condition 
being' ameliorated by education or the acquirement of 
more industrial habits. In time^ the Assamese might 
intermarry with the athletic Hill races j but these^ 
unfortunately^ on becoming partially civilized by 
mixing with and marrying Assamese^ grow ad- 
dicted to the use of opium^ and deprive us of the 
hope of a hardier or more enterprising race even- 
tually springing up in Assam. Opium^ it is said, 
was first introduced into Assam in 1794 from 
Bengal; when our troops assisted the Eajah against 
the Muttucks; since then it has spread over the 
whole country^ and deteriorated and enfeebled the 
population. 

Previously to the conquest of Assam, in 1 824, 
the inhabitants of Jynteea were in the frequent 
habit of capturing our subjects in Sychet, to offer 
up as sacrifices at the shrine of Kalee. In 1832, 
two British subjects were passing along the high 



HUMAN SACRIFICES. 



247 



road in Assam^ when the}' were suddenly seized 
and carried up into the Hills in the neighbourhood 
of Goba^ in the Xow-Gong* district. After having* 
been decked out with new clothes and jewels, they 
were led awa}^ to be sacrificed, together with two 
other persons^ also subjects of the British Govern- 
ment. One of the individuals, however, succeeded 
in making' his escape, and on his return to the 
plains, he g-ave information of what had occurred ; 
and as no tidings were ever afterwards heard of 
the three other individuals, little doubt remained 
but that they were sacrificed. The chief had 
been frequentl}^ required to surrender the guilty 
individuals, but all to no purpose ; and there being 
strong- reason for believino- that the chief had 
wilfully screened the perpetrators of this horrible 
crime, the Governor-General, Lord William Ben- 
tinck, in February, 1835, confiscated all his terri- 
tory situated in the plains. Dantipar consequently 
became annexed to the district of Now-Gong ; and 
these horrible atrocities were put a stop to. 

The barbarous practices of the Burmese, who^ 
in their invasion of Assam, massacred great num- 
bers of the inhabitants in cold blood, are still 
remembered by the people of this district, and 
spoken of with horror and indignation. In 



248 



TEAVELS IN ASSAM. 



A.D., on the banks of the Kullung* river, 
in Chotopotong- Mong-ah (on the estate occupied 
by Lukhy Huzaree, of infamous memory as the 
informer and destroyer of his countrymen), the 
Burmese apprehended a vast number of men, 
women, and children, that they might slaughter 
them in a summary manner, in reveng-e for the 
opposition made to the Burmese army atGowahattee. 

To strike terror into the minds of the inhabitants, 
fifty men were decapitated in one day. A larg^e 
building- was then erected of bamboos and gTass, 
with a raised bamboo platform ; into this house 
were thrust men, children, and poor innocent 
women with infants, and a larg-e quantity of fuel 
having" been placed round the building, it was 
ig-nited : in a few minutes — it is said by wit- 
nesses of the scene now living* — two hundred per- 
sons were consumed in the flames, merely because 
they had the misfortune to be related to those 
who had served in the Assamese army ag-ainst 
the Burmese. 

Many individuals, who escaped from these mas- 
sacres, have assured me that innumerable horrible 
acts of torture and barbarity were also resorted 
to on that memorable day by these inhuman 
savag-es. All who were suspected of being* inimical 



HORRIBLE BARBARITY OF THE BURMESE. 249 



to the reigri of terror^ were seized and bound by 
Burmese executioners^ who cut off the lobes of the 
poor victims' ears and choice portions of the body^ 
such as the points of the shoulders^ and actually 
ate the raw flesh before the living" sufferers. They 
then inhumanly inflicted^ with a sword^deep but not 
mortal g-ashes on the body, that the mutilated might 
die slowly^ and finally closed the trag-edy by disem- 
bowelling" the wretched victims. Other diabolical 
acts of cruelty^ practised by these monsters of 
humanity^ have been detailed to me by persons 
now living" with a minuteness which leaves no 
doubt of the authenticity of the facts ^ but they 
are so shocking* that I cannot describe them, 

I will turn from these cruelties^ so revolting to 
humanity, and with pleasure place on record the 
improvements that have taken place in Assam 
under British rule. 

When I first came to Assam in 1887; there 
were but few brick bungalows with glass doors in 
the province^ and every station was lost in jungle 
and swamps ; but vast improvements have been 
effected. Brick bungalows with glass doors, brick 
gaols; courts of justice^ record offices^ and trea- 
surieS; are everywhere to be met with. Roads, and 
bridges of brick, iron, and wood, are being con- 



250 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



structed; and the Sudder stations are beg-inning* to 
show the advance of civilization. The revenue^ 
being* better superintended^ has aug-mented^ but not 
to that extent which mig-ht have been expected had 
the population g-one on increasing", the oldest 
residents^ however^ can scarcely venture to say that 
the population has much increased. This may 
be accounted for by the fact that thousands are 
annually swept off by fevers, cholera^ dysentery^ 
and small-pox ; while the numerous deaths of chil- 
dren, and the too prevalent use of opium^ deprive 
us of all hope of a dense population for ag*es to 
come. 

Immense tracts of forest still remain untilled ; 
while the apathy^ want of enterprise^ and few 
necessities of the people preclude us also from 
anticipating* that the Assamese will become a great 
trading* people with the province of Beng-al. As 
far as their effeminacy and want of energy will 
permit^ however^ it is satisfactory to find that 
they are in better circumstances than the peasantry 
in any other part of India, and appreciate the 
blessings of British rule. 

If the American Baptist Missionaries should 
hereafter succeed in raising* up a Christian com- 
munity, we cannot doubt but that the result would 



AMERICAN MISSIONARIES. 



251 



be most beneficial. An orphan institution has 
already been established by them at Now-Gong*, 
and about twenty orphan children have thus met 
with an asylum, which will provide both for their 
temporal and moral wants. The establishment 
is so well conducted as to merit the support of the 
Christian community ; the children^ male and 
female^ are taug-ht to read and write, and in- 
structed in the principles of Christianity. When 
they attain the years of discretion, we may look 
forward to the formation of a Christian villag*e of 
cultivators ; and from this class we may eventually, 
with the blessing of Providence, anticipate the 
spread of the Gospel throug'hout the province. 
Hitherto, however,, few native converts have been 
made ; nevertheless, some prog-ress has been effected 
in educating- the people, and making- them capable 
of understanding- the Gospel. 

The American Baptist Missionaries, at Seebsa- 
g-hur, publish a monthly illustrated newspaper in 
the Assamese lang'uag-e. It is very creditably g-ot 
up, and diffuses useful knowledg-e with morality ; 
so that, if read^ it must be attended with the best 
results, by enlarging- the minds of the natives, and 
giving- them correct ideas of the Eng-lish Govern- 
ment and other nations. 



252 



TRAVELS IN ASSAM. 



The Eng-lish residents have not been less mind- 
ful of their spiritual wants. They have collected 
subscriptions, and erected a handsome church at 
Gowahattee^ and a small chapel at Tezpore. A 
pretty church is likewise completed at Dibrooghur^ 
in Upper Assam ; and a minister of the Church of 
Eng*land^ who resides permanently at Gowahattee^ 
makes an annual tour to all the stations in Lower 
Assam. 



APPENDIX. 



APPENDIX. 



A. 

Absteact of the treaty made with Tooleeram Senaputtee 
by Captain Jenkins, Agent to the Governor- General, 
3rd November, 1834. 

" 1st. Tooleeram resigns to Government all the tracts of 
country disputed by him and Gobind-ram, and Doorgah- 
ram, viz. : aU the land lying between the rivers Muhaur 
and Deeyong to their junction north, and all that portion 
of the country between the Deeyong and the Kopee rivers 
till they join on the north. 

" 2nd. Excepting the tract above noted, the boundaries 
of the country to remain in his possession are formed as 
follows : on the south, the Muhaur river and Nagah hills ; 
the Deeyong river on the west ; the Dhunseeree river on 
the east, and the Deeyong and Jummoonah rivers on the 
north. For this territory Tooleeram agrees to pay tribute 
annually, four pairs of elephants' tusks, each pair weighing 
thirty-five seers. 

" 3rd. As long as Tooleeram lives he will receive from 
Government a pension of fifty rupees per mensem, and 
promptly obey all orders issued to him by any officer of 
the British Government. 



256 



APPENDIX. 



"4th. The British Government may locate troops in 
any part of the country, and Tooleeram is bound to supply 
them with provisions and coolies, receiving payment for 
the same. 

5th. Tooleeram will decide all petty offences, according 
to the custom of the country, and govern the people in 
such a manner as shall be satisfactory to them. Cases of 
murder, dacoity, and other heinous offences occurring, he 
is to investigate immediately, and apprehend all persons 
concerned, and forward them to the European authorities 
wherever he may be directed. If any offender takes 
refuge within his territory, he will immediately apprehend 
him and deliver him over to the constituted authorities. 

" 6th. Tooleeram has no authority to levy taxes or cus- 
toms on the rivers Deeyong, Muhaur, and Jummoonah. 

" 7th. If Tooleeram's territory is invaded by an enemy, 
he will report the circumstance to Government, when 
troops will be furnished to maintain him in possession of 
his country : but he is not to go to war with any State 
without the sanction of Government. 

"8th. Mongahdars in the British territory will not 
prevent Ryutts resorting to Tooleeram's territory, and he 
will not offer any impediment to their departure from his 
jurisdiction. 

" 9th. If Tooleeram acts contrary to any of the above 
stipulations, or governs his subjects unjustly, then the 
territory may be otherwise disposed of; or the British 
Government may attach it, and retain permanent posses- 
sion of it" 



APPENDIX. 



257 



I 

1 
1 

ii 

!f 

f 

I 



I 



I 





^lllllllllll 


126,924 3 3 


2,061 1 2 
128,985 4 5 


ij 




ES. A. r. 

4,628 5 1 

1,073 7 10 
1,278 5 4 
2,484 13 10 
9,586 12 11 
2,879 2 

846 9 6 
2,156 6 11 

577 11 5 


285 13 


25,815 7 10 



25,815 7 10 


Amount of 
Commission to 
Mongahdars 
. and Kaguttys. 


?. HS. A. P. 

3 4,310 5 1 
3 983 7 10 
3 1,188 5 4 
3 2 298 13 10 
3 9,070 12 11 
3 2,675 2 
3 774 9 6 
3 2,012 6 11 
3 487 11 5 
3 
3 285 13 


s 

1 


3 
3 24,087 7 10 


Amount of 
Ticklahs san( 

tioned by 
Government 




1 




Total Gross 
Revenue. 


4ii|||l|l§l 


3 152,739 11 1 


) 2,061 1 2 
3 154,800 12 J 


Amount of 
Revenue on 


1 


HS. A. ] 

166 ( 
65 { 
( 
115 ( 
521 ( 
51 ( 
50 ( 
186 ( 
( 
1,627 ( 
( 


1 


° 1 


IP 


p. ES. A. P. 

3 
3 
3 
3 
3 
3 286 14 
3 150 12 
3 54 
3 3,361 8 
3 
3 2,286 8 


3 6,139 10 


3 
3 6,139 10 


!K 


gOOOOOgOOOOO 


1 


° S 


IP 


BS. A. ] 

28,681 9 f 

6,646 11 \ 
8,012 3 ! 
14,374 7 ] 
49^845 2 11 
16,773 9 5 
5,087 12 ] 
13,506 8 1( 
( 
( 
( 


i 


o> CO 

SI 


Name of Mehals. 


Koliabur 

Raha 

Juraoonamookh 

Meekirhill 

Julkur 

Perbutjooar 


i 1 1 

ii 



258 



APPENDIX. 



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APPENDIX. 



259 



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260 



APPENDIX. 



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APPENDIX. 



261 



III. 


KS. A. P. 

21,016 4 9 
4,746 8 
5,337 12 4 
11,091 15 8 
35,112 14 11 
12,608 15 11 
5,081 12 1 
9,987 1 10 
1,664 4 3 
1,318 3 9 
594 
1,785 


i 


CO 

1 ' 




ES. A. p. 

20,134 5 10 
5,036 15 
5,582 12 3 
10,533 4 4 
34,318 6 2 
11,831 11 7 
5,487 4 4 
9,531 3 2 
1,698 12 11 
1,339 8 6 
678 6 10 
1,781 


s 

1 

r-l 


i ' 


m 


^|lll||IIS2-i ^ ' 


1 


' s 


Hi 


KS. A. P, 

20,156 15 7 
5,095 4 5 
5,607 5 9 
10,788 4 10 
31,543 6 10 
10,089 2 6 
6,073 4 7 
10,649 11 4 
1,547 7 
1,166 3 7 
1,290 


1 
s 


s 
s 


m 


KS. A. p. 
20,064 3 

5,117 1 8 

5,466 10 9 

11,735 1 11 

26,740 1 

10,363 2 2 

4,504 5 3 

6,678 15 9 

909 4 3 


o 


o 

^3 


1% 

Ills 


. KS. A. P. 

3 18,690 3 5 
) 6,048 4 

3 11,011 7 
i 23,924 5 2 
I 9,757 10 7 
5 4,000 10 6 
3 5,866 7 3 

5 909 4 3 


o» 
00 

1 
a, 


o 


6 


KS. A. P 

18,238 7 ( 
4,889 i 
4,933 3 i 
10,071 5 { 
23,712 8 i 
9,915 ■ 
3,970 i 
5,411 7 ( 

909 14 5 


i 


8 ' 

1- 


a, 


E3. A. P 

18,139 1 10 
4,773 10 6 
4,653 15 S 
8,925 13 

17,456 10 
7,422 4 
3,673 8 
3,210 4 

794 


i 
1 


CO 
OS 


6 


ES. A. P. 

18,032 2 1 
4,363 14 6 

7,391 14 
14,619 14 
6,246 12 
2,889 8 

2,029 4 


OS 


i ^ 

eo 


Net Revenue 
for 1240 B.S., 
or 1833-34 

A.D. 


BS. A. P. 

34,639 3 12 

13,716 3 10 
4,73110 
3,000 

1,702 4 


sr 
■* 

g 


: : 


III. 


BS. A. P. 

26,670 9 10 

12,054 14 1 
3,356 8 6 
1,504 


i 


: : 


1 

1 


Now-Gong 

KoUabur 

Chaporee 

Raha 

Dantipar 

Meekirhill 

Lakhiraj 

Julkor 

BazeMehal 

Total 


i i 

£ 2 
u 8 

5 (S 



262 



APPENDIX. 



m 


fi; o» r- 


6,733 14 4 
11,269 6 1 
41,298 14 2 
15,303 8 10 
4,687 13 2 
11,204 14 6 
2,722 2 2 
3,136 3 7 
1,505 
3,422 9 


130,437 3 1 


1,451 14 8 


Net Revenue 
for 1258 B.s,, 
or 1851-52 


ES, A. p. 

24,219 4 5 
5,638 3 11 
6,733 14 4 
12,004 9 3 
40,779 6 
15,105 5 3 
4,441 14 7 
11,590 1 11 
2,783 12 7 
2,061 1 2 
1,627 
2,000 11 


128,985 4 5 


i-i 


Net Revenue 
for 1257 B.S., 
or 1850-51 


RS. A. P. 

24,165 13 5 
5,637 10 5 
6,625 13 
11,623 3 2 
41,401 1 5 
15,221 8 5 
4,707 4 8 
11,714 8 11 
3,211 12 1 
2,101 11 
1,656 
2,089 15 


130,156 5 6 


CM 


Net Revenue 
for 1256 B.S., 
or 1849-50 

A.D. 


ES. A. P. 

24,122 3 10 
5,527 5 

D,DOD 11 y 

11,739 4 
40,474 12 3 
15,763 1 2 
4,640 13 3 
11.683 9 4 
3,220 10 9 
2.082 11 8 
1,768 
2.102 14 4 


129,781 1 4 


Oi 
CO 


Net Revenue 
for 1255 B.S., 
or 1848-49 

A.D. 


KS. A. p. 

23,767 14 10 
5,540 13 6 
6 351 14 11 

U|Wx x-r ±x 

11,922 14 4 
40,677 6 8 
15,862 2 
4,723 4 4 
11,879 3 1 
3,871 5 7 
3,525 12 
1,708 
2,168 14 8 


129,999 8 1 


3,459 15 7 


Net Revenue 
for 1254 B.S., 
or 1847-48 

A.D. 


KS. A. p. 

23,780 4 2 
5,821 10 9 
6,828 6 1 

12.847 2 
42,498 6 1 
15,648 

4,840 11 

11.848 11 7 
3,074 10 8 

,2,644 10 10 
1,889 
2,268 6 5 


133,489 7 8 


824 14 


Net Revenue 
for 1253 B.S., 
or 1846-47 

A.D. 


KS. A, p. 

23,496 1 7 

5,701 14 10 
6 262 7 10 

Uj«6U^ 1 XV/ 

13,469 8 
42,945 8 9 
15,113 6 7 
5,459 7 6 
12,166 13 3 
3,265 14 9 
3,508 15 11 
1,732 
2,103 10 


134,314 5 8 


1,520 9 3 
... 


Net Revenue 
for 1252 B.S., 
or 1845-46 

A.D. 


RS. A. p. 

33,143 11 7 

5,359 10 2 
5,963 15 5 
13,793 8 10 
41,467 4 1 
15,413 9 7 
6,399 14 3 
11,963 
3,406 12 7 
2,858 9 3 
1,138 9 3 
3,087.13 6 


132,793 12 5 


1,896 8 1 
... 


Net Revenue 
for 1251 B.S., 
or 1844-45 

A.D. 


RS. A. P. 

31,418 13 6 
5,004 14 3 

15,203 5 10 
40,837 5 
15,336 8 
6,471 9 6 
11,933 7 3 
2,819 10 6 
2,635 13 8 
1,394 
3,097 10 


130,897 3 6 


eo 
to 


Net Revenue 
for 1250 B.S., 
or 1843-44 

A.D. 


KS. A. P. 

31,395 3 9 
4,779 11 6 
5,635 6 1 
13,015 12 7 
38,644 13 10 
14,981 2 3 
6,471 9 6 
11,694 14 5 
1,867 14 
2,347 3 4 
567 
1,905 3 


123,305 13 3 


12,991 7 1 

1 


Name of Mehals. 


j 


Raha 

MeekirhiU 

Lakhiraj 

Perbutjoar 

BazeMehal 

Total 


: : 
: : 

II 



APPENDIX. 263 



Business of Collector's Office. 



Office. 


In 1257, B.S., 
or, 
1850-51. 


In 1258, B.S., 
or, 
1850-51. 


Increase. 


Decrease, 


Remaeks. 


Native 
Department. 












Roobukary received 


109 


183 


74 


)» 




Roobukary explan- 
ation required from 


/ 


do 




19 




Roobukary sent ... 


271 


171 


»» 


100 




Yad Dust or Memo 


123 


108 


)» 


15 




Report and Petitions 


16,356 


14,448 


j» 


1 08 






l,o4o 


1,74d 


201 






Miscellaneous Per- 
Mongahdars, Kar- 


5,706 


6,068 


362 








>» 






24,167 


22,762 


637 


2,042 


1405 decrease. 


English 
Department. 
























Collector's Office ... 


237 


240 


3 








279 


173 




106 






132 


115 




17 




Principal Assistant 
Commissioner . . . 


59 


54 




5 






707 


582 


3 


128 


Actual decrease 
125 letters. 



264 



APPENDIX. 



G. 

Statement showing the Receipts and Charges for the 



Receipts : 

ES. A. V. R3. A. P. 

Land Revenue, net 122,573 12 10 

Capitation Tax 4,784 7 7 

Revenue reahzed from Land discovered 

after the settlement was made 888 8 

128,246 12 5 

Gold washings 

Fisheries 1,627 

Abkary (sale proceeds) 2,947 8 

Post-office 801 15 

Savings from Establishment fixed 31 11 7 

Contingencies, Stationery, Boxes, &c 43 5 10 

Pound Fund 298 3 

Fines 1,078 5 5 

Ferries 1,278 4 

Town Tax 563 10 4 

Premium at 1 per cent, on issuing drafts 5 9 6 

Revenue Record Fund 21 14 

Uncovenanted Service Family Pension Fund 441 6 

Presents 186 8 6 

Marriage Fees 5 8 

Unclaimed Property, and Cattle sold 64 8 6 

Deceased's Property sold 15 15 11 

Stolen Property sold 31 13 6 

Cost of Nonsuit Cases 30 10 

Cost of English Paper furnished 41 10 

Gambling Property seized and sold 46 5 3 

Bribe given to Amlah ^ 13 8 



Grand Total 



Company's Rupees 137,821 14 



APPENDIX. 



265 



G. 

District of Now-Gong, Assam, for the Year 1852 a.d. 



DISBURSEMENTS 



Salaries of Covenanted Assistants for the 

whole year 

Travelling and Deputation allowance . . 



Salaries of Uncovenanted Assistants 

for ditto 

Travelling and Deputation allowance... 

Political Establishment 



Contingent for ditto, ditto . 

Judicial Civil Establishment, fixed . . , 
Contingent for ditto, ditto . . . 



16,083 4 1 

14,548 7 5 

2,699 5 6 

4,578 11 

4,876 14 8 

9,389 13 3 

6,869 12 10 

4,809 10 8 

2,805 15 5 

Militia 12,536 12 8 

Pensions 336 12 

Post OflSce Establishment, fixed 
Contingent for ditto, ditto 



Kevenue Establishment, fixed 



Jail Establishment, fixed 

Contingent for ditto, ditto 4,029 10 



Contingent for ditto, ditto . 



School Establishment, fixed 

Contingent for ditto, ditto 



ES. 


A. 


p. 


15,358 


4 


1 


725 








5 

14,229 


10 


9 


318 


12 


8 


2,699 


5 


6 


, 4,266 








312 


11 





, 4,825 


10 





51 


4 


8 


8,640 








749 


13 


3 


6,606 


5 


10 


263 


7 





780 








4,029 


10 


8 


2,795 


10 


8 


10 


4 


9 


828 








35 


3 





1,084 









863 3 



1,084 



Fine remitted 30 

Overseer's salary at Golaghaut, including horse 

allowance 400 

Repair of Roads, Bunds, and Buildings, other than in 

the Executive Department 656 



Total Company's Rupees 82,568 10 6 

In favour of Government 55,253 3 6 



Grand Total 



Company's Rupees 137,821 14 



266 



APPENDIX. 



QO 


•sasnoH 
UBtaiBsni\[ 


00 
CO 
G<1 


CO 


OS 


CO 


o 

OS 


CO 
CO 
CO 


OS 


CO 


o 

00 






2,016 






2,016 




•sasnoH 

ma 




OS 






CO 


OS 


: 










OS 

o 

(M 






OS 

o 

(M 


CD 


•S9ST10JJ 










OS 

>o 


CO 

*o 

<N 




CO 
CO 


CO 

CO 






CO 
CO 

I-H 






CO 

CO 




'S3ST10JJ 

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o 

CO 


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OS 


00 


o 
o 
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1,322 


o 

OS 


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CO 


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3,384 






3,384 




QooSooj 


00 




(— 1 

>o 


*o 

CO 
<N 


1,573 






00 


OS 






2,317 






2,317 




•S9snoij 
outig 


Oi 


00 


CO 


CO 
CO 


OS 
CD 


OS 


o 

(N 


00 




• 




1,751 


• 




1,751 




•sasnoH 


<N 


OS 


CO 
r— 1 


o 

(M 


00 


»o 

00 
1—4 


o 

CO 


CO 


CO 


: 




00 






1,458 


1— 1 


•sasnoH 


00 




o 




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1^ 


00 
I-H 


CO 
(N 










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CD 
CO 




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o 

CO 
CO 


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•sasnoH 

.IBUIOOX 


00 


OS 


CO 


CO 


CO 


o 


OS 


CO 


CO 






00 
CO 




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00 
CO 


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l>- 

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»o 

<N 




*• 


>o 

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00 


•sasnojj 


(N 
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»o 


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4,101 


1,069 




o 
o 
»o 


vo 






8,532 






8,532 






1,112 


CO 


•o 

1— 1 


1— 1 

00 


00 


»o 

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01 


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3,735 




• 


3,735 


CO 


•S9snoH 


1,683 


CO 
OS 


CO 

»o 

1— 1 


1,035 


>o 

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CO 


CD 
CO 
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5,458 


: 


: 


5,458 




•sasnoji 
j{,)iunn0 


CO 






CO 


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o 






CO 




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CO 
(N 






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00 


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VO 


CO 




^ 


>o 
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»o 


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<N 




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CO 
00 
1— ( 




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1,475 


1,475 


CN 




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CO 


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00 


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»o 


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CO 


TP 


o 

CO 

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APPENDIX. 



267 



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268 



APPENDIX. 



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•.igqajTi^i 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 



A SKETCH OF ASSAM ; 

Wtlj Somt %tmni d % iill Crifos. 

BY AN OFFICER 

IN THE HONOURABLE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S BENGAT, NATIVE INFANTRY 
IN CIVII- EMPLOY. 

WITH A MAP OF ASSAM, AND SIXTEEN COLOURED PLATES. 
PKICE 20s., CLOTH. 



Journey to Assam, &c. 

Travels and Residence in North-Western Assam. 
Field Sports, &c. 



The Khamtees, 

The Singphoos. 

The Muttucks. 

The Boo Abors and Merees, 

The Mishmees. 

The Dooaneahs. 

The Assamese. 

The Nag as. 

The Garrows. 



L TRIBES. 

The Cosseahs. 
The Booteahs. 
The Sath Booteah Rajahs. 
The Char Dooar Rajahs. 
The Thebingeah Booteahs. 
The Huzaree Khawa Akhas. 
The Kuppah Choor Akhas. 
The Duffiahs. 



LONDON : SMITH, ELDER, AND CO., 65. CORNHILL. 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 



UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 



DS Butler, John 

^35 Travels and adventures 

A84B9 the province of Assam